Exactly one year before the coup, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif forced the resignation of General Jehangir Karamat and I often reminded him that the army would never forget that grievance. When he wanted to send me to Sindh in the capacity of Governor, I refused because I could see his government would not last very long. You see, I’ve seen the way he works. He avoids issues for far too long. I knew they could dismiss him when they wanted. I can’t see into the future, but it was a pure assessment of the situation in the country. Instead, I asked that he send me to Sindh as adviser to the Prime Minister with the powers of Chief Minister .

Four months after my arrival in Sindh, the coup happened.

It was around Fajar time on the 13th of October when the army and rangers came in and occupied my house in Karachi. The orders were clear: nobody is to come in and nobody is to go out.

On day three, army officers came to me and asked me to leave the party. I refused. I told them such an act would bring four kinds of shame I could not bear: shame on my personal friendship with Nawaz Sharif, shame on Punjabi- Sindhi relations, shame on Sindh for producing a man who would send his friend to prison to retain office for himself, and finally, shame on my personal character.

They tried to persuade me for 18 days but I would not budge. Then finally, they shifted me to the army barracks in Karachi where I used to be interrogated for hours on end. The questioning was long and difficult. But when we would break for prayers, they would say, “Shah Sahib, you lead the prayers and we will pray behind you.”

I never lied. I told them I will not give any false statements against Nawaz Sharif. Incidentally, Sharif was in the same barracks as I was. We weren’t allowed to meet each other, but sometimes we could see each other from afar. When we were sent to Landhi Jail, I was in cell-1 and he was in cell-3. We would hurriedly speak to each other but get rebuked and finally they had enough of us and moved me to another block.

The case went ahead. The anti-terrorism court decided to acquit us all and Nawaz Sharif got the life sentence. They still didn’t let us go though, and made a long winded NAB case against me. In total, I was in prison for a little short of two years. While Nawaz Sharif went off to live in a Saudi palace, the rest of us were left in jail for standing by our integrity. I realised then, Nawaz Sharif is nobody’s friend.