Islamabad: Had Gen. Pervez Musharraf not been appointed Pakistan's army chief, the 1999 Kargil conflict wouldn't have happened, former foreign minister Gohar Ayub Khan says in a new book.
'There is no doubt that had there been some other army chief appointed, there would have been no Kargil and Nawaz Sharif would have continued to be the PM,' Khan writes in 'Testing Times as Foreign Minister'. He also provides details of the manner in which Musharraf was appointed after General Jehangir Karamat abruptly resigned.
'JK (Jehangir Karamat) was asked to go after making a suggestion for the establishment of a national security council. The army officers corps did not like the manner in which JK resigned. They were not going to tolerate a similar sacking in the future.
'Now started the process to select a new army chief. Individuals close to the prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) convinced him that the precedent of appointing the senior-most as the army chief as was done for JK need not be followed but a Muhajir be selected.
'This, they thought, would bring in an army chief who was not from the provinces from which the bulk of the army was recruited. Hence, he, in their view, would not be able to stage a coup at any future day because in their thinking he would not be supported for being a Muhajir.
'These individuals did not know how the Army works,' Khan writes and the net result was that Musharraf toppled Sharif in a bloodless coup Oct 12, 1999. It was the second time Pakistan's political establishment had got it wrong.
Earlier, then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had appointed Gen. Ziaul Haq the army chief on the ground he was a Muhajir but found himself at the receiving end when he was toppled in a military coup July 5, 1977.