In 1999, late COAS Pervez Musharaf was returning from an official visit to Sri Lanka. While in the air, his aircraft was denied landing at the Karachi Airport and was barred from landing at any airstrip in Pakistan. On the ground, his generals had initiated a coup against the civil government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He had recently relieved Gen Karamat of his command as the Coas and had appointed General Musharraf. On the 12th of October, 1999, PM Nawaz Sharif decided to fire General Musharraf; he reached the President’s house and got the Notification of Lt. Gen Butt to be promoted to army chief signed by him. The news of the removal of the army chief was then aired on PTV. Shortly after, the PTV headquarters was taken over by soldiers of the Pakistan Army.

At this moment, when Musharraf was in the skies, his team of corps commanders was in action, Corp commander Karachi and his battalions had now taken control of the Karachi Airport, but the DG of civil aviation and the PIA chairman had been ordered by the PM house not to allow Musharraf’s aircraft to land at Karachi. The aircraft landed, and Musharraf came out, received by his army battalions; he was then moved to the Corps guest house in a car with the ‘Chief of Army Staff’ flag fluttering on it.

In Islamabad, the Triple One brigade, which was deputed to protect the PM house, had now surrounded it. When a Colonel entered the PM’s house with his soldiers, the guards there tried to stop them, but they were outnumbered. The army had now fully taken control of the PM house, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif had been taken to 10 corp. When in custody, Nawaz was requested by the army generals to dissolve the assemblies, but he reportedly responded, “Over my dead body!”. Now, army Chief General Pervez Musharraf was the beholder of the office of power. Nawaz Sharif had been deposed, and Pakistan was again under military rule.