His first appointment was as second lieutenant in the artillery regiment near Indo-Pak border. He first saw battlefield action during the 1965 Indo-Pak War. His unabated courage, determination and gallantry helped him bag a seat at the Special Force School.
He joined Special Service Group (SSG) in 1966 and served the same until 1972. During his stint with Special Service Group, he was promoted to the rank of Army Captain and then a Major. Meanwhile, in the 1971 war against India, he served as the company commander of a SSG commando battalion.
In 1974, he became Lieutenant Colonel and in four years duration was appointed Colonel. In the 80s, he enrolled himself at the National Defense University (NDU) to study political science. He later served as the professor at the Command and Staff College and NDU.
His experience in mountain and arctic warfare helped him attain the position of a Brigade Commander in 1987 for a new brigade of SSG near Siachen glacier.
Later in 1990-91, he moved to Britain to study at the Royal College of Defense Studies.
Upon returning to Pakistan, he was promoted as a Major General. He closely worked with the top officials and soon became a key staff of Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto had a powerful political influence over him and even mentored him.
He last served in military field operation in Mangla before being appointed to three-star rank, Lieutenant-General in 1995. As his rank scaled upwards, his involvement in politics even grew.
In 1998, he was personally selected by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as the Army Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, thus moving to the four-star rank.
Year 1999 blotched his scaling career graph with a permanent stain due to the Kargil War. The operation planned by him under PM Nawaz Sharif drew immense disapproval, criticism and hostility from public and nations around the world. The war was a total embarrassment for Pakistan and led to the loss of prestige and morale.
Continue Reading Below
On October 12, 1999 when Musharraf was returning back from an official visit to Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nawaz Sharif replaced him with Khwaja Ziauddin. The move backfired and Musharraf dethroned Nawaz Sharif from power through a coup. Sharif was later exiled to Saudi Arabia.
On October 15, 1999, he declared a state of emergency and assumed power as the Chief Executive. Rafiq Tarar, then President remained in office until 2001 after which he formally appointed himself as the President.
Shortly after assuming power, he issued Oath of Judges Order No. 2000, which required judges to take a fresh oath of office swearing allegiance to military.
Upon taking up the chair of the President, he allied with America in the war against terror. However, this move was ridiculed by Islamic fundamentalists.
As per direction of the Supreme Court, he called for national elections in 2002. In the elections pro-Musharraf party PML-Q won large number of seats athough it didn't get clear majority. The PML-Q formed coalition government with the MMA and MQM
Zafarullah Khan Jamali was chosen for the office of the Prime Minister. However, Jamali’s incompetency led to the appointment of Shaukat Aziz. Since Musharraf trusted Aziz, he gave the latter with executive powers. Under Aziz’s leadership, Pakistan economy boosted which proved to be fruitful for both.
In 2004, his legislators passed a Bill according to which he held powers both as the Chief of the Army and Head of the State.
In 2006, he passed the Women Protection Bill under which rape victims were given greater benefit than the former law which required them to produce eye witness for the crime or face adultery. However, his comments on the 2005 rape case of a Pakistani physician, Dr. Shazia Khalid exposed his double-dealing nature.
It was under his presidency that the country suffered from highly controversial atomic scandals. First, was the links of top nuclear scientists Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed with Taliban and second was the role of Abdul Qadeer Khan in nuclear proliferation.
Facing immense domestic criticism and public anger, his popularity declined as people looked forward to an end of his term of presidency. As such despite his re-election in 2007 and subsequent holding of the army chief and head of the state position, people from the elite class objected to his enthronement.
He declared a state of emergency suspending the constitution and shutting down all private media channels which spoke against his governance. However, in a quest to lessen the mounting pressure and criticism, he resigned from the military on November 28, 2007.
On appointment of Syed Yusaf Raza Gillani as the Prime Ministerial candidate by PPP, and the threat to undergo impeachment, under which he would face corruption and murder charges, he finally stepped down from his Presidential post on August 18, 2008. Following month, he left for a self-imposed exile to London.
In 2010, he formed his own party, All Pakistan Muslim League and declared himself as the party President. He voiced his opinion of actively taking part in Pakistan’s politics sometime in the future.
On March 24, 2013, he returned to Pakistan after four years to take part in the 2013 general elections. However, the election tribunal disqualified him from the candidacy. Furthermore, he was put under house arrest. Also, he faced allegations for being actively involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Lal Masjid Operation.