Karachi: Pervez Musharraf, the former commando-turned-politician who returned to Pakistan on Sunday to lead his party in the May 11 polls, seeks to stage a political comeback after four years of self-imposed exile abroad. Delhi-born Musharraf's family migrated to Pakistan after the partition in 1947.
Commissioned in the Pakistan Army in 1964, Musharraf rose to national prominence after being appointed to the four-star general in October 1998 by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. After seizing power in a coup in 1999, the 69-year-old commando became one of Pakistan's longest-serving rulers.
He served as the tenth President of Pakistan from 2001 until 2008. Musharraf survived three assassination attempts when in office from 1999 to 2008.
Prior to that, he was the 13th Chief of Army Staff from October 1998 till November 2007, and was also the tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan Armed Forces from 1998 until 2001. Musharraf was the mastermind and strategic field commander behind the highly controversial and internationally condemned Kargil infiltration, which derailed peace negotiations with India.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Musharraf closely allied with the United States and the allied powers in the 'War on Terror'. His support for President George Bush's "war on terror" earned him unpopularity at home.
Musharraf became the first president to hold general elections nationwide. His time in power was also marked by struggles with the judiciary, including an attempt to remove the chief justice and protracted disputes over his oft-stated desire to remain head of the army while simultaneously being president of Pakistan.
His rule was marred by controversies in the last two years, including the armed action at Red Mosque. He has been accused of not doing enough to protect former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto from being assassinated in 2007, despite allegedly being aware of Taliban plans to kill her.