Musharraf’s era started from 12
October 1999 and ended on 18 August 2008. These almost eight years were very
important in the history of Pakistan. Musharraf’s era had positive aspects as
well as some of negative. We will discuss his Martial Law and his important
reforms and its aftermaths.
Musharraf’s Takeover: (Martial Law)
12 October 1999 was the important day in the history of Pakistan. It was the
darkest day for the democracy of Pakistan. This was the day; Musharraf took the
charge of the country by enforcing Martial Law and ruled out the democracy.
Imposing Martial Law is treason and violation of Article 6 of 1973 Constitution
of Pakistan. This was all due to the hide and seek between that times Government
Nawaz Sharief wanted to remove General Musharraf from the post of Chief of Army
Staff and he tried to do this on that day. When Musharraf came to know all
about, he was in Sri Lanka on official tour. Acting immediately, General
Musharraf dashed for the Karachi-bound Pakistan International Airlines PK805
flight from Colombo, leaving at 15:45 local time. His Plane did not allow to
land at the airport, his plane circling the Karachi Airport almost 200 minutes.
At last his Plane succeeds to land at about 19:47 just before ran out of fuel.
General Musharraf has since said that the plane had only seven minutes of fuel
remaining. All the High Commands of Army did not accept the order of Musharraf’s
retirement which was given by that times Prime Minister. At 22:30 the news came,
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had been dismissed and Martial Law had been imposed
and the National Assembly and Senate had been dissolved.
According to me, Nawaz Sharief’s order was out of sense especially when all
going well. I think Musharraf’s way of imposing Martial Law was his last option
as he tried all possible options to recover the situation but failed. Even, he
asked Nawaz Sharief to take back his order but Nawaz Sharief was still stand
with his earlier statement. The most important, Musharraf, later on proved good
for Pakistan. If we compare Musharraf’s era to the Nawaz Sharief’s era or even
the current Zardari’s era then we feel the difference. Today I realize, Zardari
rightly says, Democracy is the best revenge; he is taking revenge from the
Pakistanis, very well.
Major Reforms and Achievements: ,
The list of the Musharraf’s reforms is given below.
1. Nine world class engineering universities were developed. The cost of
building these Universities was over Rs 96.5 billion.
2. In 1999-2000 there were 31 Public Universities. In 2005-2006 there were 49
Public Universities. Air University (established 2002); Institute of Space
Technology, IST (established 2002); University of Science & Technology, Bannu
(established 2005); University of Hazara (founded 2002); University of Gujrat
(established 2004); Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore (established 2002);
3. Literacy rate in Pakistan had increased from 45% (in 2002) to 53% (in 2005).
Education was received 4% of GDP and English had been introduced as a compulsory
subject from grade 1.
4. In total, 99,319 educational institutions increased in Musharraf’s era.
5. There were more than 5,000 Pakistanis doing PhDs in foreign countries on
scholarship in Musharraf’s era. 300 Pakistanis receive PhD degrees every year,
in 1999, the number was just 20.
6. Major Industrial estates were being developed under Musharraf’s vision: M3
industrial, Sundar industrial estate, Chakri industrial, etc.
7. In 1999 what we earned as GDP: we used to give away 64.1% as foreign debt and
liabilities. In 2006, what we earned as GDP: we gave only 28.3% as foreign debt
and liabilities. We were saving 35% of our GDP for economic growth at that time.
8. According to an IMF report, Pakistan was 3rd in banking profitability in the
world. On the IMF chart, Pakistan’s banking profitability was on third position
after Colombia and Venezuela. On the same IMF chart, India was on the 36th
position and China was on the 40th position.
9. According to the Economic Survey 2005, poverty in Pakistan in 2001 was
34.46%. And after 7-8 years of Musharraf, poverty in 2005 was 23.9%. Thus,
poverty decreased by 10.56%. Overall, 12 million people had been pushed out of
Poverty in 2001 – 2005!
10. The government was providing Sui Gas facility to areas of South Punjab at a
cost of Rs 1.311 billion. A total of 1,138 kilometer gas pipeline was being
laid. The districts benefiting from these schemes mainly include Multan,
Khanewal, Bahawalnagar, Rajanpur, DG Khan, Vehari and Muzaffargarh.
11. The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector of Pakistan had attracted over Rs 70
billion investments during the five years (2001-2006) as a result of liberal and
encouraging policies of the government. 1,765 CNG stations were operating in the
country, in 85 cities and towns. It provided employment for 30,000 people in the
12. The economy was the third fastest growing economy after China and India.
13. Five dams were built: Mirani, Subakzai, Gomalzam, Khurram and Tangi.
14. Seven motorways were completed or were under construction.
15. Gwadar, an advanced sea port, was developed.
16. The GDP per Capita in 2007 was $1000.
17. The industrial sector registered 26 percent growth.
18. A historic 100% increase in tax collection (amounting to Rs. 1 trillion) was
19. Revenue collection in 2007/08 was Rs. 1.002 billion.
20. Exports in 2007 were worth $18.5 billion where Textile exports in 2007 were
worth $11.2 billion.
21. Pakistan development programs in 2007 were valued at Rs. 520 billion.
22. Foreign direct investment in 2007 was $8.5 billion.
According to my point of view, Musharraf’s era was the best era of 64 year
history of Pakistan with respect to progress and prosperity in every field of
life. Progress was on its peak at that time. He started a plenty of new projects
for the development of the Pakistan. He started tax free industrialization to
urge the foreign investors. His plan worked and a number of multi-national
companies launched in his era. The impact of that was the increasing number of
jobs in his era. It was very difficult to find out skilled laborer for small
If we talk about education, as earlier mentions, his era was the best. He was
very education loving. Actually, he was loved of all things that make Pakistan
progress, as his slogan, “Pakistan comes First” (سب سے پہلے پاکستان).
But rather all of that, there are main important negative aspects of Musharraf’s
era. NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) was one of them. Pakistani Nation
was looted under this act. Musharraf legalize this illegal ordinance. According
to this, a plenty of loans of parliamentarians, berucrates and politicians were
removed by this act. And this was the only act that Musharraf considered his
mistake during his period. Another aspect is the pending process of Kala Bagh
Dam. If it could complete, a more than half of electricity and water crisis of
Pakistan would resolve. But when he was asked about that, he replied that
re-establishment of Kala Bagh Dam was the controversial. According to my point
of view, that was not the pet logic. If Army killed Akber Bugti in his era, if
operation of Lal Masjid could held in his era then why not Kala Bagh Dam
re-established in his era? This is the big question mark that what he was
thinking about Kala Bagh Dam. Another issue is that he cannot start any
practical work on discovered Thar coal which can fulfill over energy
requirements for more than one hundred years. Thar coal is the fourth largest
coal reservoirs in the world but unfortunately still remain untouched due to
In long and short, Musharraf’s era was not an ideal but still better than all
the other eras of ether democratic or dictatorship eras in Pakistan.