Pakistan’s ex-president Pervez Musharraf may be flown home from UAE due to ill health

Gen Musharraf has been critically ill in hospital suffering from amyloidosis and his family says his organs are failing

Former president Pervez Musharraf in 2008, surrounded by top military officers as he leaves the Presidential House in Islamabad.  AP Photo
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Pakistan's gravely ill former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf should be brought back from exile in the UAE after his family revealed he has no hope of recovery, the military has said.

Gen Musharraf has been critically ill in hospital suffering from amyloidosis and his family says his organs are failing.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the military, once led by Gen Musharraf, has been in contact with his family and offered to transport him home from the UAE if requested.

His return has been backed by his old rival Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister who was ousted and sent into exile by Gen Musharraf in 1999.

“I have no personal enmity or animosity towards Pervez Musharraf,” Mr Sharif wrote on Twitter.

“I don't want anyone else to suffer the traumas I have had to endure for my loved ones,” he said.

Pakistan's top military spokesman also confirmed that it believed the former head of the army should return to the country, but said the final decision was for the family.

Gen Pervez Musharraf in a hospital bed in Dubai, pictured on a screen in Islamabad in 2019.  AFP

“In such a situation, the institution and leadership’s stance is that Pervez Musharraf should return,” said Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar.

Pakistan's defence minister also gave his blessing to Gen Musharraf's return and said the former dictator should be able to spend the rest of his life in dignity.

“In view of General Musharraf's ill health, there should be no obstacle for him to return home,” said Khawaja Asif. “Past events should not be allowed to interfere in this regard.”

Gen Musharraf was chief of the army when he took power in a coup in 1999 and went on to serve as president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008.

Following the 9/11 attacks on the US, he became a key American ally in George W Bush's “war against terror” and allowed the US access to Pakistan's airspace and supply lines to wage war against the Taliban.

When he tried to sack the chief justice in March 2007, he sparked months of nationwide protests that led him to impose a state of emergency later that year. Civil liberties, human rights and democratic processes were suspended from November 2007 to February 2008.

He resigned later in 2008 to avoid impeachment after a political party that backed him fared poorly in a general election.

Gen Musharraf has been in self-imposed exile in Dubai, where he is receiving medical treatment. He was sentenced to hang in his absence after being convicted of treason for his suspension of the constitution. That ruling was later quashed.

His family earlier this month said his medical situation had worsened. Amyloidosis leads to the build-up of amyloid protein deposits that can make it difficult for organs and tissues to work properly.

A statement on June 10 said he had been admitted to hospital for three weeks due to “a complication of his ailment”.

“Going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living,” the family said.

Gen Musharraf was born in India's capital New Delhi but moved with his family to Pakistan around the time of India's partition.

Updated: June 15, 2022, 1:21 PM