Pervez Musharraf was born in Delhi, India, on 11 August 1943 to an educated Sayed family. When British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947, the family, like many other Muslims, migrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi. Pervez's father, the late Syed Musharaff-ud-Din, was a career diplomat. The young Pervez attended some of Pakistan's elite schools before entering the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961. He married his wife, Sehba, on 29 December 1968; the couple has a son (Bilal) and a daughter (Ayla). A devoted family man, Musharraf is a keen sportsman, enjoying squash, badminton, golf, and sailing. He is also an avid reader, with an interest in military history.
Pervez Musharraf was commissioned second lieutenant in an artillery regiment in 1964. He saw active service in the 1965 war with India, during which he was awarded a medal for gallantry. Musharraf later volunteered for the commandos and was a company commander in a commando battalion during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. In 1980, Musharraf caught the eye of General Zia-al-Huq, who selected him for advancement. His subsequent military career included command at the brigade, division, and corps levels, as well as appointments to the Command and Staff College, Quetta, the National Defence College, and the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom. Musharraf became chief of army staff with the rank of general on 7 October 1998 and was appointed chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on 9 April 1999.