It was late on a thick, foggy night in December 1999 that we were returning from dinner in Lahore’s Gulberg area to our guest house. The retired general at the wheel was talking about Pakistan’s politics—it was less than two months since General Pervez Musharraf had conducted his coup. The drive seemed longer than usual and I asked, “General, are we lost?” “You should know by now that generals are never lost in Pakistan. Hainji?” he winked.
Earlier that evening, I had marvelled at the clockwork precision of the coup against Nawaz Sharif even when Musharraf was away in Colombo. “I am sure it had been war-gamed,” he had observed.
He should have known—years ago, he had been the chief of general staff (CGS). The CGS, along with the commander of the Xth Corps in Rawalpindi, has had a crucial role in all Pakistani coups d’etat. Because of its involvement in military coups, the ‘Triple One Brigade’ of the Xth Corps is even known as the Coup Brigade.
It now turns out that preparations...