Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's decision to resign on Monday brings to an end a tumultuous nine-year reign that thrived with US backing, but succumbed under impeachment threat following the first free and fair elections he conducted after grabbing power in a bloodless coup in 1999.
Musharraf had to cut short his innings in the face of a humiliating impeachment move, but his tenure was in a state of decline ever since he imposed emergency to pre-empt a judicial ruling on his October 2007 re-election. He revoked the measure and quit as army chief under intense international and domestic pressure, entering uncharted waters as a civilian president.
Sixty-five year old Musharraf, who was once all-powerful in Pakistan, found his nemesis in former premier and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif, whom he had overthrown in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999, and sent into exile a year later.
Sharif, who returned to the country from exile, ahead of February 18 general elections, joined forces with rival Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party after her assassination and together with it tossed out the pro-Musharraf PML-Q, setting stage for the President's ouster.
Image: Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf speaks during a press conference at the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York City in 2004.
Photographs: Mario Tama/Getty Images
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