Pakistan's slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto wanted Pervez Musharraf, then a brigadier in the Pakistan Army, to serve as her military secretary but he declined the offer - and is thankful he did so, the president says.
Had he accepted the offer he would have "gone down with her and her government", Musharraf, who stepped down earlier this month as the Pakistan Army chief before being sworn in as president for a second term, says in his memoir In The Line Of Fire.
The offer came when Musharraf was serving at the Pakistan Army General Headquarters as deputy military secretary, dealing with the career management of majors and lower ranks in the army, in the process becoming their "godfather".
"One day, out of the blue, a friend of Benazir Bhutto's husband Asif Zardari came to call on me. Benazir was prime minister at the time. The friend's name was Javed Pasha. I had never seen him before," Musharraf writes in the memoir published in 2006.
"Pasha suggested that I become Benazir's military secretary. I do not know whether this was Pasha's personal initiative or if it had the backing of the prime minister. I asked for time to think about it.
"The next day, I broached the subject with my boss, Major General Farrakh. He rejected Pasha's suggestion outright, saying, 'You are a professional soldier and should continue with your professional work'. This was yet another time my career was saved. Had I become her military secretary, I would have gone down with her and her government," Musharraf writes.
Musharraf also makes clear his dislike for both Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister, who were twice each in office between 1988 and 1999 and who were responsible for a "nearly total lack of governance" in Pakistan.
"The four changes of prime minister involved two cycles of alternation between Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Never in the history of Pakistan had we seen such a combination of the worst kind of governance - or rather, a nearly total lack of governance - along with corruption and plunder of national wealth," Musharraf writes.
During these 11 years, every army chief - and there were four of them - eventually clashed with the prime minister.
"The head of the government invariably got on the wrong side of the president and the army chief. Advice to Nawaz Sharif or Benazir Bhutto fell on deaf ears, leading every time to a confrontation," Musharraf writes.
"This was the period I have always called 'sham democracy'," he adds.