Pakistan receives Musharraf’s body.

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ISLAMABAD: The body of Pakistan’s exiled former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who became a key United States ally during the so-called war on terror, is expected to be repatriated on Monday.

Musharraf, who fled the South Asian country in 2016 for medical treatment after a travel ban was lifted, died after a long illness in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday at 79.

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Senior officials who asked not to be named said his body would be flown to Pakistan on Monday, with a burial expected later in the day.

Musharraf seized power in a 1999 bloodless coup and was acting simultaneously as Pakistan’s army chief, chief executive and president when the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington took place.

The general twice suspended the country’s constitution and was accused of rigging a referendum shoring up his power, as well as rampant rights abuses, including rounding up opponents during his nearly nine-year rule.

“In the end, he left Pakistanis with a deep distaste for direct military rule, so that even though the military wields much power behind the scenes now, it does not want to be in power directly again,” Madiha Afzal, an analyst from the Brookings Institution, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Musharraf became Washington’s chief regional ally during the invasion of neighboring Afghanistan, a decision that put him in the crosshairs of Islamist militants, who made several attempts on his life.

But it also earned Pakistan a huge influx of foreign aid, which bolstered the economy.

In Pakistan, where the military remains supremely powerful and enjoys significant support, Musharraf is a divisive figure.

“There was good in him,” 69-year-old Naeem Ul Haq Satti told AFP in a marketplace in the capital Islamabad.

“But his one act, which will be remembered throughout history, was he violated the constitution,” the retired civil servant added. “The most important thing a country has is its constitution.”

Musharraf had been suffering from a rare disease known as Amyloidosis, and his family said last summer he had no prospect of recovery.

Senior military chiefs “express heartfelt condolences on [the] sad demise of Gen. Pervez Musharraf,” a brief statement released by the military’s media wing said on Sunday.

Source: manila times