Sharif says he had no idea of coup in 1999
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Sharif says he had no idea of coup in 1999

The military coup by then Army Chief Pervez Musharraf dethroned the former premier in 1999.

world Updated: Apr 11, 2007 13:59 IST

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he had "no idea" of the military coup by then Army chief Pervez Musharraf which dethroned him in 1999.

"I was sitting in Prime Minister's House when the television went off and I heard that the military was around and then I saw military entering and surrounding my office," Sharif said in an interview to ARY television.

He said meanwhile his wife Kulsoom telephoned him and asked him about the situation and later General Mahmood entered the Prime Minister's House with dozens of armed guards and asked him and his brother Shahbaz Sharif to go with him.

When he asked Mahmood why the military had taken over Prime Minister's House, the latter replied, "Don't you know the military has taken over because you changed the army chief?"

Sharif said that later he and Shahbaz were taken to Rawalpindi in a vehicle with tinted glass, the Daily Times reported.

He gave the Army immense support during the Kargil adventure though Musharraf had "deliberately hidden some aspects of the Kargil war from me".

"Even then I took all the blame and saved the army. I didn't ask President Clinton to call me in Washington and resolve the Kargil issue, it was Musharraf who pressed me to meet Clinton and resolve the Kargil issue," Sharif said, adding that he didn't want to take any action against Musharraf after the Kargil episode because he wanted to move forward.

"Musharraf kept on hatching conspiracies against me and my government," he said. Sharif said that he and Shahbaz were kept in a dark room in Rawalpindi, where he was forced to sign a paper.

"It was written on the paper that I was suggesting the president to dissolve the assemblies, and also resigning from my office of prime minister," Sharif said, adding that three army generals, including Gen Ahsanul Haq, threatened him of consequences if he didn't sign the paper.

First Published: Apr 11, 2007 13:56 IST