Pakistan's ex-president Musharraf dies after years in exile

STORY: Pervez Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan for nearly a decade during the critical early years of the American war against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, died in a hospital in Dubai on Sunday.

Musharraf, a former general who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, appeared alongside American President George W. Bush less than a month after Al Qaeda terrorists used jetliners to attack New York City and Washington, --- and pledged himself as part of a coalition to defeat the militant Islamists and the Afghan Taliban sheltering them.

"Let me right away say that Pakistan has taken a considered decision to be a part of the coalition, to be with the United States, to fight terrorism in all its forms wherever it exists."

He was credited with attracting foreign investment to Pakistan, which saw the strongest economic growth in nearly 30 years during his rule, and he enjoyed the support of the military and Pakistanis who backed his crackdown against militant groups.

Some Karachi residents spoke fondly of the former leader.

"During his tenure, Pakistan was economically quite strong. There was employment in Pakistan. The poor people were employed, and essential items were cheap and affordable. Overall, Pakistan was quite stable economically and otherwise."

But his decade-long rule was also marred by a heavy-handed approach to dissent, and imposing an almost six-week-long state of emergency in which he suspended the constitution and censored the media.

His political party lost a vote in 2008. Facing impeachment by parliament, he resigned and fled to London.

"After consultations with legal advisors and close political supporters, on their advice and in the interests of the nation and the country, I have taken the decision to resign from my office. My resignation will reach the Speaker of the National Assembly today."

He returned to Pakistan in 2013 to run for a seat in parliament but was immediately disqualified. He was allowed to leave for Dubai in 2016.

His family said Musharraf was suffering from a rare organ disease called amyloidosis and was admitted to the hospital last year after he became critically ill.

One of Musharraf's former political aides told Geo News that he would either be buried in Karachi, his family's hometown, or in Rawalpindi, home to the army's headquarters.