There would have been no confrontation between India and Pakistan over Kargil in 1999 had General Pervez Musharraf not been the army chief of the Islamic state, a top Pakistani leader has said.
"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 Prime Minister," claimed former Pakistan Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan.
In his latest book, 'Testing Times as Foreign Minister', Khan provides an insiders account of the manner in which Gen Musharraf was appointed the army chief after General Jehangir Karamat "was asked to go after making a suggestion for the establishment of a national security council".
According to a review of the book in the Pakistani daily The News, the army officers corps did not like the manner in which JK (Jehangir Karamat) resigned. "They were not going to tolerate a similar sacking in the future," it said.
According to the former foreign minister, 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," the book said. Khan, the son of the late Pakistani President Field Marshal Ayub Khan, said the leading supporter of Musharraf was "in fact trying to strengthen his own position for the future and not of Nawaz Sharif".
After Sharif become the prime minister, Khan was appointed Foreign Minister in 1997. In 1998 he was shifted from the Foreign Ministry to Water and Power ministry where he stayed until the ouster of the PML-N government in October 1999 by Musharraf in a military coup.
Obviously "these individuals did not know how the Army works," he said, adding General Zia-ul-Haq, a Muhajir, was appointed by then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on these considerations. However, Bhutto was toppled in a military coup by Zia and later sent to the gallows.