Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf dies at 79

AFP (File Picture)

Pakistani former President Pervez Musharraf died on Sunday following a prolonged illness at a hospital in Dubai. He was 79.

Pakistan's military and the country's mission in the United Arab Emirates announced the death of the former army chief, who was pushed from power in 2008.

"I can confirm that he passed away this morning," Shazia Siraj, spokesperson for Pakistan's consulate in Dubai and embassy in Abu Dhabi, told Reuters.

The chiefs of Pakistan's army, navy and air force expressed condolences on his death, the public relations wing of the military said.

President Arif Alvi expressed condolences in a statement.

A special flight will be made to Dubai on Monday to bring Musharraf's body back to Pakistan for burial, local TV channel Geo News reported.

The former four-star general, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, oversaw rapid economic growth and attempted to usher in socially liberal values in the country.

Musharraf enjoyed strong support for many years, his greatest threat al Qaeda and other militant groups, who tried to kill him at least three times.

But his heavy-handed use of the military to quell dissent as well as his continued backing of the United States in its fight against al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban ultimately led to his downfall.

Allowed abroad for medical treatment even as he faced a treason case in Pakistan, Musharraf last flew to Dubai in 2016.

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