While addressing the officers and cadets at the Naval War College, General Karamat stressed the creation of National Security Council which would be backed by a “team of civil-military experts” for devising policies to seek resolution ongoing problems relating the civil-military issues; also recommended a “neutral but competent bureaucracy and administration of at federal level and the establishment of Local governments in four provinces.This proposal was met with hostility, and lead to Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal of General Karamat.Although both Nawaz Sharif and general Jehangir Karamat were educated, and held common beliefs concerning national security, problems arose with chairman of the joint chiefs and chief of army staff General Karamat on October 1998. In turn, this reduced Nawaz’s mandate in public circles, and lead to much criticism from Leader of the Opposition Benazir Bhutto.
There were three lieutenant-general officers potentially in line to succeed General Karamat as four-star rank and chief of army staff. Lieutenant-general Ali Kuli Khan, a graduate of PMA and RMA, Sandhurst,was an extremely capable staff officer and was well liked in public circles, but was seen as close to the former chief of army staff general (retired) Abdul Vaheed; and was overlooked with regards to the promotion. Second in line was lieutenant-general Khalid Nawaz Khan who was popularly known for his ruthless leadership in the army; particularly for his unforgiving attitude to his junior officers. Lieutenant-general Nawaz Khan was known for his opposition and anti-muhajir sentiment, and was particularly hardline against the MQM.
Musharraf was in third-in line, and was well regarded by the general public and the armed forces. He also had an excellent academic standing from his college and university studies.Musharraf was an strongly favoured by the Prime Ministers colleagues: a straight officer with democratic views. Nisar Ali Khanand Shahbaz Sharif recommended Musharraf and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif personally promoted Musharraf to the rank of four-star general to replace Karamat.
After the Kargil incident, Musharraf did not wish to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Musharraf favoured the chief of naval staff Admiral Bokhari to take on this role, and claimed that: “he did not care” Prime minister Sharif was displeased by this suggestion, due to the hostile nature of his relationship with the Admiral. Musharraf further exacerbated his divide with Nawaz Sharif after recommending the forced retirement of senior officers close to the Prime minister,including Lieutenant-General Tariq Pervez (or TP), commander of XII Corps, who was a brother-in-law of a high profile cabinet minister.According to Musharraf, lieutenant-general TP was an ill-mannered, foul-mouthed, ill-disciplined officer who caused a great deal of dissent within the armed forces.
Nawaz Sharif announcement of the promotion of General Musharraf to chairman joint chiefs caused an escalation of the tensions with Admiral Bokhari: upon hearing the news, he launched a strong protest against the Prime minister The next morning, the Prime minister relieved Admiral Bokhari of his duties It was during his time as chairman of the joint chiefs that Musharraf began to build friendly relations with the United States Army establishment, including General Anthony Zinni, USMC, General Tommy Franks, General John Abizaid, and General Colin Powell of the US Army, all of whom were premier four-star generals in the military history of the United States.
Sharif’s decision antagonized the Pakistan Army and rumors of a possible coup began emerging soon afterward.Sharif and Musharraf dispute on who was responsible for the Kargil conflict and Pakistan’s withdrawal.
This strategic operation met with great hostility in the public circles and wide scale disapproval in the media who roundly criticised this operation.Musharraf had severe confrontation and became involve in serious altercations with his senior officers, chief of naval staff Admiral Fasih Bokhari,chief of air staff, air chief marshal PQ Mehdi and senior lieutenant-general Ali Kuli Khan.Admiral Bokhari ultimately demanded a full-fledged joint-service court martial against General Musharraf, while on other hand General Kuli Khan lambasted the war as “a disaster bigger than the East-Pakistan tragedy”, adding that the plan was “flawed in terms of its conception, tactical planning and execution” that ended in “sacrificing so many soldier.Problems with his life long friend, chief of air staff air chief marshal Pervez Mehdi also risen when air chief refrained to participate or authorise any air strike to support the elements of army operations in the Kargil region.
During the last meeting with the Prime minister, Musharraf faced a grave criticism on results produced by Kargil infiltration by the principal military intelligence (MI) director lieutenant-general Jamshed Gulzar Kiani who maintained in the meeting: “(…) whatever has been written there is against logic. If you catch your enemy by the jugular vein he would react with full force…. If you cut enemy supply lines, the only option for him will be to ensure supplies by air… (sic).. at that situation the Indian Army was unlikely to confront and it had to come up to the occasion. It is against wisdom that you dictate to the enemy to keep the war limited to a certain front…”.
After Prime minister Nawaz went to the United States on emergency situation, an impression was attempted to create in the print media that Prime minister was at fault to surrender there. Lieutenant-General Kiani maintained that “this impression was created by General Pervez Musharraf which was totally wrong..”.
Musharraf met with President Rafiq Tarar on 13 October to deliberate on legitimising the coup.On 15 October, Musharraf ended emerging hopes of a quick transition to democracy after he declared a state of emergency, suspended the Constitution, and assumed power as Chief Executive. He also quickly purged the government of political enemies, notably Ziauddin and national airline chief Shahid Khaqan Abbassi. On 17 October, he gave his second national address and established a seven-member military-civilian council to govern the country. He named three retired military officers and a judge as provincial administrators on 21 October.Ultimately, Musharraf assumed to executive powers and held powers of chief executive, but did not obtained the office of Prime minister.The Prime minister secretariat (official residence of Prime minister of Pakistan) was closed by the military police and the staff was deposed by Musharraf immediately.
There were no organised protests within the country to the coup.The coup was widely criticized by the international community. Consequently, Pakistan was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations.Sharif was put under house arrest and later exiled to Saudi Arabia on his personal request and under a contract.
The senior military appointments in the inter-services were extremely important and crucial for Musharraf to keep the legitimacy and the support for his coup in the joint inter-services. Starting with the PAF, Musharraf pressured President Tarar to appoint most-junior air marshal to four-star rank, particularly someone with Musharraf had experienced working during the inter-services operations. Once Air-chief Marshal Pervez Kureshi was retired, the most junior air marshal Muschaf Mir (who worked with Musharraf in 1996 to assist ISI in Taliban matters) was appointed to four-star rank as well as elevated as Chief of Air Staff.
There were two extremely important military appointments made by Musharraf in the Navy. Although Admiral Aziz Mirza (a life-long friend of Musharraf, he shared a dorm with the admiral in the1960s and they graduated together from the academy) was appointed by Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Mirza remained extremely supportive of Musharraf’s coup and was also a close friend of Musharraf since 1971 when both participated in a joint operation against the Indian Army.After Mirza’s retirement, Musharraf appointed Admiral Shahid Karimullah, whom Musharraf was trained together in special forces schools in 1960s, to four-star rank and chief of naval staff.
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