New Delhi, Dec 11 : Lt General Salahuddin Satti (retd), then commander of the Triple One Brigade, which oversaw the overthrow of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif government on October 12, 1999, has termed the coup an unfortunate incident, The News reported.
In an interview with Saudi Urdu News website, the former Pakistan Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen Satti said the incident of October 12, 1999 should have never occurred.
He said he met former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif twice before the toppling of his government and found him a polite and mature person as the premier, the report said.
The former head of the Triple One Brigade, who supervised the military coup against Nawaz Sharif, spoke for the first time about the incident and its aftermath.
In his interview with the Urdu News, he said there is an impression that the military operation against Nawaz Sharif was pre-planned, which is totally wrong.
“As the Commander of the Triple One Brigade, I did not go to the Prime Minister’s House or even Islamabad. I controlled the entire operation and gave instructions through mobile. Apart from sending a unit from the Presidency to PTV, some troops were dispatched to the Prime Minister’s House. But our troops did not cross the PM House’s gate till the evening when General Mahmood reached there,” Lt Gen Satti told Urdu News.
Referring to the atmosphere inside the Prime Minister’s House, he said that tension had arisen when the troops faced the newly-appointed COAS, General Ziauddin Butt who was accompanied by highly-trained retired SSG commandos. They were armed and very active.
General Satti further stated that the commanding officer called and told him about the situation and said if Gen Butt’s commandos opened fire, then it will be difficult to handle the situation. However, the commanding officer told the armed personnel accompanied by Gen Butt to stop as they could not guarantee anyone’s life. After this warning, they stopped their movement and General Butt was kept under house arrest there and later shifted to the CMH because he was not feeling well, the report said.
“General Ziauddin Butt was the head of the ISI. An impression was created through the media that the military wanted to topple Nawaz Sharif’s government. However, there were no such preparations as perceived in the media,” commented Gen Satti.
About his personal training, he told the Urdu News that he was the Chief of Staff at the X Corps when two years prior to this incident, President Farooq Ahmed Leghari had toppled Benazir Bhutto’s government. The military was moved at that time too. Therefore, being Chief of Staff of X Corps, he knew how to make such arrangements under these circumstances, the report added.
He further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s father Mian Sharif arranged a meeting between his son and the Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf to settle their issues amicably. After this meeting, he took General Pervez Musharraf to Umrah and everyone thought the issues had been settled between them.
Once the issues were resolved apparently, General Musharraf left for Sri Lanka on an official tour. What happened behind him is history now, he said, the report said.