* He is one of President George W Bush's most important allies in Washington's war on terrorism.
* Born into a Muslim family in India in August 1943, Musharraf migrated with his family to the newly created majority-Muslim state of Pakistan following India's independence and partition in 1947, but attended Roman Catholic and other Christian schools because they were among the best. * A career military man whose favourite movie is "Gladiator", he fought in the 1965 war against India, was decorated for gallantry, endured the army's humiliating defeat to India in the 1971 war and served with Pakistan's commandos.
* Musharraf was named army chief in 1998, and seized national power in 1999 in a bloodless coup. He first led the country as chief executive and then won a five-year presidential term in a 2002 referendum critics say was rigged. He is now seeking a second five-year term.
* Musharraf's move to sack Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in March on charges of misconduct created a judicial crisis that soon became a political crisis too. Musharraf's popularity slumped after the Supreme Court reinstated Chaudhry. This show of judicial independence has raised expectations that challenges to Musharraf's re-election plan could be upheld.