ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf is critically ill and has been hospitalized in Dubai since last month, his family said Friday. They asked for prayers for Musharraf's health while denying local media reports back home that he is on a ventilator.
Musharraf has been living in the United Arab Emirates since 2016, when he was allowed to leave Pakistan on bail to seek medical treatment abroad. A death sentence against him, handed down in absentia in 2020 in a treason case related to the state of emergency that Musharraf imposed in 2007 while in power, was later overturned.
Over the years, the former dictator was said to be very ill and was unlikely to travel home to face the sentence. Friday's statement from Musharraf's family, posted on Twitter, followed newspaper reports in Pakistan and statements attributed to his friends saying he was gravely ill.
“He is not on the ventilator. Has been hospitalized for the last 3 weeks due to a complication of his ailment," Musharraf's family said, adding that he has been suffering from amyloidosis, a chronic metabolic disease in which abnormal proteins build up and damage organs such as the heart, kidney and liver.
“Going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living," the tweet added.
Musharraf seized power in 1999 by ousting the elected government of then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Under his rule, Pakistan became a key ally of the United States in the war on terror following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. He approved NATO's transport of military equipment to land-locked Afghanistan through Pakistan and for the U.S. to use Pakistan’s air bases for logistic support.
In 2007, he imposed an emergency rule and placed several key judges under house arrest in the capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in Pakistan.
Later, when he was back in office, Sharif accused Musharraf of treason in 2013. The general was formally charged in 2014 and sentenced to death in 2020, a sentence that was later overturned. In rare remarks to the media, Musharraf has said he will return home when he recovers and when his doctors allow him to travel, to face pending cases against him.