Saturday, November 3, 2007

TIMELINE: Pakistan President Musharraf's highs and lows

Reuters) - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule on Saturday in a bid to reassert his flagging authority against challenges from Islamist militants, a hostile judiciary and political rivals.

Here are some main events in his political career:

October 7, 1998 - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appoints General Musharraf army chief but their relationship breaks down over the Kargil border conflict with India the next year.

October 13, 1999 - Musharraf takes power following a bloodless coup after Sharif sacked Musharraf a day earlier while the general was on his way back from Sri Lanka. The country was virtually bankrupt and the coup was relatively popular. Sharif is sent into exile a year later.

June 20, 2001 - Musharraf is sworn in as president but retains his army chief post.

September 12, 2001 - A day after al Qaeda attacked the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell tells Musharraf: "you are either with us or against us". A week later, Musharraf announces Pakistan has joined the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

April 30, 2002 - Musharraf wins a controversial referendum on extending his rule for five more years.

July 6, 2002 - Musharraf imposes laws effectively barring former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Sharif from power.

December 14 and 25, 2003 - Musharraf survives two al Qaeda inspired assassination attempts in Rawalpindi. Low-ranking army and air force personnel are implicated in the first attack.

December 24, 2003 - Musharraf announces he will step down as army chief by the end of 2004.

January, 2004 - Musharraf and India's then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, agree to a peace dialogue less than two years after the nuclear-armed nations went to the brink of war. The neighbors have fought three wars since 1947.

December 30, 2004 - Musharraf announces he is going back on his pledge to step down as army chief.

October 2005 - Musharraf rallies the country and the army emerges with credit for leading relief efforts after an earthquake kills 73,000 people.

September 2006 - Musharraf launches his autobiography "In the Line of Fire" in New York.

March 9, 2007 - Musharraf suspends Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on allegations of misconduct. Lawyers rally to the top judge and Musharraf's popularity plummets as their pro-democracy campaign draws support.

July 6 - Assassins try to kill Musharraf, but his plane had taken off and was far away before they opened fire from a rooftop close to the military airfield in Rawalpindi.

July 10 - After a week-long siege, Musharraf orders troops to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad to crush a Taliban-style movement. At least 105 people are killed.

July 20 - Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry, dealing a blow to Musharraf's authority.

September 10 - Sharif tries to return from exile but is arrested at Islamabad airport and deported to Saudi Arabia, despite having clearance from the Supreme Court to return.

September 18 - Musharraf's lawyers tell the Supreme Court he will quit as army chief if re-elected president.

October 2 - Musharraf designates the former head of the main intelligence agency, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, as his successor as army chief. The government announces it is ready to drop corruption charges against Bhutto.

October 6 - Musharraf wins most votes in a presidential election but has to wait for the Supreme Court to confirm the legality of his re-election.

Oct 19 - About 139 people killed by an attempted suicide bomb assassination of Bhutto during a procession through Karachi on returning from eight years of self-imposed exile.

Nov 2 - Supreme Court reconvenes to hear challenges whether Musharraf was eligible to stand for re-election by parliament on October 6.

Nov 3 - Musharraf imposes emergency rule.

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