Pervez Musharraf (1943-2023): The Disgraceful Career of a Liberal Agent

Pervez Musharraf has passed away after wrestling with amyloidosis, a rare illness, for many years. He was the former military dictator of Pakistan who ruled the nation after the 1999 coup d’Etat as “chief executive” and then as President up until 2008.

An obituary from the BBC summarises his “contributions” to Islam as follows:

The blunt message from the administration of then US President George W Bush was, “You are either with us or against us.” So Musharraf made a controversial U-turn on Pakistani policy: supporting the American-led military campaign to oust the Taliban regime in neighbouring Afghanistan, who had harboured Muslim radicals blamed for the attacks.

In January 2002, he issued a strong condemnation of extremism, pledging to fight Islamist terrorism in Pakistan. He also banned all foreign funding of mosques and Islamic education centres and limited the numbers of foreign students coming to Pakistan for Islamic studies.

His pro-US stance earned him the anger of not only the masses but also from within the Army itself, including some close generals who were dismissed as “Islamists” (I mean, it would be pretty unusual to have “Islamists” at the highest positions within… an Islamic Republic, right?).

The Guardian reported back in October 2001, following Musharraf’s allegiance to the War on Terror:

Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, yesterday consolidated his grip on power by swiftly sacking two of his most senior generals, in an attempt to head off a growing revolt within the army against his pro-American policies.

The president demoted the head of Pakistan’s powerful ISI military intelligence agency, Lt General Mehmood Ahmed, and also pushed out his deputy chief of army staff, General Muzaffar Hussain Usmani. Both officers were regarded as hardline Islamists.

The threat to Gen Musharraf comes from a significant rightwing group in the middle-upper echelons of the army, made up of admirers of Pakistan’s late hardline dictator, General Zia ul-Haq.

The soldiers were junior officers during the Zia era in the 1980s but have now risen to the level of corps commanders. “At least half of the 10-12 corps commanders in Pakistan are Islamist or influenced by them,” one source said last night.

Some of Musharraf’s contributions to Islam following the War on Terror include flinging hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals into the hands of the CIA in the name of “counter-extremism.” However, more often than not, these were just normal civilians with an “Islamist appearance” (like having a beard and traditional attire) who were sold as “militants” so the Pakistan Army could make some easy money ($$$). This occured mainly in the Waziristan region and includes personalities such Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

He also proposed a “four-point formula” towards resolving the Kashmir issue. But this was seen by Kashmiris as nothing short of a betrayal, as it legitimized Indian sovereignty in their lands. It is thus quite ironic that Musharraf passed away on the 5th of February⁠—a day which Pakistan celebrates as the “Kashmir Solidarity Day.”

Musharraf also tried to play the essence of Islam itself by enforcing what he called “enlightened moderation,” weaponizing “scholars” such as Javed Ahmad Ghamidi in the process. In fact, as The Boston Globe notes in a 2007 article, Ghamidi first attained popularity upon being “handpicked” by Musharraf in the early 2000s:

Ghamidi first appeared on the popular radar after being handpicked by President Pervez Musharraf last year for the Islamic Ideology Council, an independent constitutional body that consults for the Pakistani legislature. Soon after Ghamidi joined, the council moved to roll back Islamic sharia laws regarding rape and adultery that required, among other things, four witnesses to a rape for a successful conviction. Ghamidi worked overtime, throwing himself into classical Islamic texts, spending hours on the air in the popular media, and churning out documents from the Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences, a think-tank and publishing house he founded in the city of Lahore. In every possible forum, he invoked his religious authority to make the case that the “Islamic laws” themselves were “un-Islamic.”

RELATED: The Outrageous Deviance of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi

This supposed “enlightened moderation” is obviously nothing more than an adaptation of Islam to liberal codes.

This is how Musharraf himself elaborates upon the concept in his memoir, In the Line of Fire, released in 2006, when he was still ruling the country (p.295):

The idea of “enlightened moderation” dawned on me in my study one night when I was meditating on all this. To stop violence, we need a global solution. The turmoil in the Muslim world arises primarily because of unresolved, long-standing political disputes that have created a sense of injustice, alienation, deprivation, powerlessness, and hopelessness in the masses. This situation is aggravated by the fact that by any measure, the Muslim countries have the least healthy social conditions in the world. Political deprivation, combined with poverty and illiteracy, has created an explosive brew of extremism and terrorism. Muslim societies must shun terrorism and extremism if they ever hope for emancipation and a release from these conditions. But at the same time their demand for a just resolution of certain political disputes must also be addressed.

Basically, Muslims should stop being “extremists” (which, as we’re well aware, really means that they should stop following traditional Islam) so they can become “developed.” This idea of growth is predicated upon materialist factors, which is exactly what you’d expect from a liberal, to whom “illiteracy,” for example, is probably viewed as something worse than even Shirk.

Within this context, he was famous for his crackdown on Pakistan’s madrasah system, closing these Islamic institutions down by the thousands when he wasn’t too busy “reforming” the curriculum.

Considering his manifest liberalism, you also won’t be surprised to learn that chapter 30 of his above-mentioned book is titled “The Emancipation of Women.” Here, you will find many glimmering gems of feminism, such as this one (on p.315):

The views of our local champions of women’s right are consonant with mine. Perhaps where we differ is over the methodology for achieving our shared goals. When one demands equal rights for women, one needs to assess in which areas women can work better than men, in which they can work like men, and in which they need protection and affirmative action for when they cannot work like men. I personally feel that we have to adopt a graduated, incremental approach, taking measures simultaneously to develop capacity in women in areas where they need help and improvement.

His liberal “enlightened moderation” was thus an open, all-out war against the traditional social system of Islam. For this reason, it was naturally welcomed by liberals such as the late journalist Ardeshir Cowasjee, an influential Parsi figure, who loved democracy unless a “new Atatürk” (as he put it) threatened to dismantle Islam.

RELATED: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: The Man Who Tried to Destroy Islam

In a 2003 piece for Dawn News, titled “Enlightened moderation,” he thus wrote:

The theocratic fraternity and their ‘chamchas’ are already agitating in the press and on our television channels against any change, amendment or repeal of the Hadood Ordinances. And we know how the president general backtracked on an amendment to the blasphemy laws (which would merely have made them less prone to abuse) way back in May 2000, before he gained his post-9/11 power and pre-eminence. Things are now different; we are in the age of ‘enlightened moderation’ with which such things as the Hadood and blasphemy laws are absolute anachronisms, being far from moderate and certainly not enlightened.

The sane and sensible amongst us can only fervently hope that before Musharraf departs from the scene he will step in, do what is right by the country and by his proclaimed intent, and, in the name of enlightened moderation, see to it that the Hadood laws and the blasphemy laws and all other such laws which in themselves are criminal and disgrace Pakistan, are done away with.

Just imagine that, how, in an “Islamic Republic,” the descendant of fleeing Zoroastrians can judge the Shari’ah to be “criminal” and a “disgrace.” And he’s doing this in the most established English-language newspaper within the country.

Another senior columnist for Dawn News, Ayaz Amir, writing in 2005, also identified the political angle hidden behind the religious one in the whole “enlightened moderation” rhetoric. He said that if you didn’t agree with the way Musharraf did things (purely political disagreements), then you were basically fit for Guantanamo:

“ENLIGHTENED moderation”, President Musharraf’s increasingly insistent battle cry, has only one meaning in Pakistan today. If, suspending disbelief, you consider him God’s answer to Pakistan’s problems and think him entitled to another presidential term in 2007, you are “moderate” and “enlightened”.

If, however, you even remotely question his right to run Pakistan’s political circus according to his convenience, you deserve an extended stay in Guantanamo Bay.

These are some of Musharraf’s glorious “contributions” to Islam prior to his resignation in 2008, the real reason behind which was not related to his political adversaries, as is often claimed. Rather, it was because of the 2007 siege of Lal Masjid (“Red Mosque”), when, in the country’s capital city, Islamabad, its oldest mosque and adjoining madrasah (Jamia Hafsa) became the scene of a drastic military operation against “extremism.” This military operation ultimately resulted in the deaths of dozens of students. It was something so shameful that Musharraf himself eventually denied ever ordering the mission.

This was Musharraf, an individual whose parents relocated from today’s India to Pakistan so that they could practice Islam freely. It seems, however, that their son, Musharraf the dictator, would likely have had major problems with their understanding and practice of Islam.

I wouldn’t at all be surprised if, right now, he was still harping on about “enlightened moderation” to the angels in his grave (like that would help him at all!).

Meanwhile, countless children are still shedding tears in prayer, beseeching Allah for the safe return of their innocent fathers, who had been falsely accused of “extremism” in return for a few meagre US dollars.

RELATED: The 1947 India-Pakistan Partition: Good or Bad?

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” in the name of enlightened moderation, see to it that the Hadood laws and the blasphemy laws and all other such laws which in themselves are criminal and disgrace Pakistan, are done away with”

correct me if i am wrong, but denying a established law categorically, be it from sharia or the hadiths, doesn’t put one beyond Islam? or atleast borderline kufr?


While the shariah stands for chopping off the hands of a thief who is proven guilty beyond doubt, exercising this punishment against an unproven defendant is a great travesty of justice and the Shariah. The debate on Hudood laws in Pakistan is more about how they’re practiced/abused instead of their substance. Please don’t lose the nuance amidst the rhetoric. That said, agree that PM was no son of Islam and a source of great damage to and discord in the Islamic republic.


In Pakistan no prime minister who has won an election has ever finished his term in office.Their political establishment is too unstable(thanks to the army) .The recent assassination attempt on Imran Khan is just one more event in a long line of Pakistan’s chaotic history since independence(Imran Khan was lucky, others in his position ended up accused of corruption, jailed or assassinated).


The army controls most major companies, mismanagin the economy (too much debt and does not have money for basic infrastructure) making the country dependant on Chinese(they build Pakistani hospitals, bridges and ports) or American money(that’s why Pakistan is not free).
Also the whole country is plagued with various militant groups ,making the security the major problem together with the political instability. Making it unattractive for business and as a result high unemployment and poverty.


In this 2 videos : “Why is Pakistan a (Nuclear) Time bomb?” and this other one “Why Pakistan is China’s best ally”, they explain everything in detail. Both videos are from the Youtube channel “VisualPolitik EN”.