Islamabad/Dubai: Pakistan's wily former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, the architect of the Kargil War in 1999, died on Sunday in Dubai after battling an incurable disease.
Musharraf, 79, lived in self-imposed exile in the UAE to avoid criminal charges against him in Pakistan, died after a prolonged illness at the American Hospital in Dubai.
He was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease caused by a build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body, according to his family.
In a statement issued immediately after Musharraf's death, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan military, said that Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Sahir Shamshad and all the services chiefs express their heartfelt condolences.
"May Allah bless the departed soul and give strength to the bereaved family," it said.
Geo TV reported that a special flight will be sent to Dubai on Monday to bring Musharraf's body back to Pakistan for burial.
His illness came to light in 2018 when his party - the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) - announced that the former military ruler was suffering from amyloidosis.
In June last, he was hospitalised in Dubai for three weeks. Going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living, his family said at the time in a statement after the news of his demise had started circulating on social media.
Musharraf was the main architect of the Kargil War that took place months after then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed a historic peace accord with his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lahore.
After his failed misadventure in Kargil, Musharraf deposed the then Prime Minister Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999 and ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 in various positions - first as the chief executive of Pakistan and later as the President.
Nawaz Sharif's younger brother and current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended condolences and sympathy to Musharraf's family.
"Praying for the forgiveness of the deceased and patience of the family, he said in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani also expressed deep sorrow over the former president's death and extended condolences to the grieving family.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry described Musharraf as a "great person and said his ideology was to always keep Pakistan first.
Punjab's former chief minister Parvez Elahi said that Musharraf's services to the Pakistan Army and the country cannot be forgotten.
The four-star general was ruling Pakistan as a "chief executive" when the 9/11 attacks on the US took place and he swiftly aligned with Washington during its military intervention in neighbouring Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
After the December 2007 assassination of Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, his allies suffered crushing losses in the 2008 elections, leaving him isolated.
In more than seven years in office, he oversaw a stint of economic growth while dodging at least three assassination attempts. Musharraf won a five-year term as president in a 2002 referendum, but reneged on promises to quit as army chief until late 2007.
Musharraf's plan to return to power in 2013 was dashed when he was disqualified from running in an election won by Sharif, whom he had deposed in 1999.
In March 2014, Musharraf was indicted for suspending the Constitution on November 3, 2007.
In December 2019, a special court handed Musharraf a death sentence in the high treason case against him However, a court later nullified the ruling.
The former military ruler left the country in March 2016 for Dubai to seek medical treatment.
Musharraf was born on August 11, 1943 in Delhi. His family moved from New Delhi to Karachi in 1947. He joined the Pakistan Army in 1964 and was a graduate of the Army Staff and Command College, Quetta.
Musharraf was living in Dubai since March 2016, when Pakistan's Supreme Court lifted a travel ban on him to seek medical treatment there.
He married Sehba in 1968 and has a son and a daughter.