Musharraf had coup plans since becoming COAS in '98: Ex Pak Army Chief

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Islamabad, Oct 12 (ANI): Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had plans to topple the Pakistan government ever since his inception as Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in 1998, retired general Ziauddin Butt has revealed.

"I do know personally that he had some such plans since October 1998 when he assumed the office of the COAS," the Dawn quoted Ziauddin, as saying.

Eleven years back on October 12, 1999, Ziauddin was "appointed" as the army chief by the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, which triggered the series of events that led to the military coup later that night. The night proved to be no less tumultuous for Ziauddin, who, stripped of his military rank, was kept in solitary confinement for two years at the headquarters of the 111 Brigade.

About the "plans" to carry out the coup, the former military officer said, "We were aware that General Musharraf and his cronies would take over," but later added that despite heading the ISI, he was kept out of the loop by the rest of the military in the run-up to the coup.

According to Ziauddin, the government sprang into action against Musharraf when shortly before October 12, Nawaz, who was about to leave for a scheduled visit to Shujaabad in Multan, received a telephone call from a "reliable source". This prompted the prime minister to remove Musharraf from COAS post and appoint Ziauddin instead.

"To date Mian Nawaz Sharif has not disclosed who the caller on the other end was," he added.

He also disclosed that on the night of October 12, 1999, after the military had taken over, General Mahmud Ahmed had visited him and suggested that he denounce the removal of Musharraf.

"I refused to become party to the unconstitutional act carried out by the fellow Generals," said Ziauddin, who then ended up in solitary confinement.

He held General Musharraf, then corps commander General Mahmud Ahmed, chief of general staff General Aziz Khan, vice chief of general staff Maj-Gen Ali Mohammad Jan Orakzai, DG MO Maj-Gen Shahid Aziz and others responsible for the coup.

Ziauddin futher disclosed that the differences between the PML-N and the military emerged after the Kargil war. Siding with Sharif, he too claimed that Musharraf started the Kargil conflict without the prior approval and knowledge of the elected government.

"Even the corps commanders and principal staff officers were kept in the dark," he claimed. (ANI)

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