Thousands attend the funeral of former Pakistani military leader Pervez Musharraf.

Thousands of people have gathered for funeral prayers for Pakistan’s divisive former president, General Pervez Musharraf.

The former military ruler, who served as president from 2001 to 2008, died on Sunday in Dubai after a long illness, and his body was returned to Pakistan.

The prayers were held at a military compound in Karachi, but senior figures such as the army chief and Pakistan’s current president were conspicuously absent.

He was a key US ally during the “war on terror,” but his legacy was complicated.

The prayers were attended by an estimated 10,000 people, the majority of whom were retired and serving military officers, according to the AFP news agency.

The army chief, prime minister, and president were not present, but some politicians and former army chiefs were, according to local media.

Musharraf’s body was later transported to a nearby military cemetery, where the coffin was draped in the national flag and buried in front of hundreds of people surrounded by tight security.

In a statement, Pakistan’s powerful military expressed its “heartfelt condolences”, while President Arif Alvi prayed “for eternal rest of the departed soul”.

General Musharraf was born in Delhi in August 1943, but his family joined millions of other Muslims in the newly formed Pakistan after India was partitioned after British rule ended in 1947.

He entered the Pakistan Military Academy in 1962, served in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, and had a “love-hate” relationship with neighboring India throughout his career.

General Musharraf seized power as head of the armed forces in a bloodless coup in October 1999, before formally appointing himself president two years later.

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