After going through the ranks, he became Chief General. He seized power in a military coup on October 12, 1999, placing the previous prime minister Nawaz Sharif under house arrest. On December 22, 1998, the Pakistani government sent 30,000 troops to occupy the nation's power stations. This helped give the military control over the economy. He formally became President of the country on June 20, 2001.
Musharraf is considered a moderate leader by Western governments because he is willing to deal with the West. He has been open to making economic reforms and to modernize Pakistan. He is considered to be secular, and his rise to power was marked by a widespread purge of Islamist elements within the military and security forces.