You see, end of September 1999, I was already convinced there was going to be a military intervention. My husband and I had met with Nawaz Sharif and urged him not to mess with Musharraf. But from his responses, we understood he was going to seek to replace him. I was convinced that Musharraf would pounce before he was pounced upon.

I was in Washington D.C when the military intervention was made. The Americans didn’t know anything about Musharraf. The day of the coup, I got called in by the National Security Council and they asked me if I knew him. I told them he seemed to be a secular type of fellow. Five days later, on 17th October 1999, I returned home. The atmosphere was tense. Nobody knew what was around the corner, and Musharraf, bit by bit, dug his heels in. He suspended the Assembly for a year and a half. Originally we were lobbying for a restoration of the Assembly, but before his meeting with the Indian leadership in Agra in 2001, he superseded the Assembly and announced himself President. In 2002, he held an election which was more in the nature of a selection and carried on making a grand pact with the Chaudhrys of Gujarat.

My first interaction with Musharraf after the coup was a one on one in 2000. He called me in to ask me what he should do because Bill Clinton was going on a visit to India and wanted to make a refuelling stopover at the airport. I suggested he should not insist that Clinton come into Islamabad, but he said that would be insulting and didn’t agree. At his insistence, Clinton did meet with him in Islamabad, but the way he came in was far more humiliating for Pakistan. He completely refused a photo-op with Pervez Musharraf.

As for Mian Nawaz Sharif, I did go for a hearing to Karachi and interacted briefly with him. I asked him how he was, he asked me how I was. He looked gaunt and troubled and I was really very depressed to see him.