Nawaz is charged with ordering airport officials in Karachi to stop an airliner carrying General Pervez Musharraf, whom he'd just sacked as military chief, from landing. Military intervention allowed the plane to land, and within hours General Musharraf had taken control of the country in a coup. But stabilizing military rule demands that any challenge from Nawaz's supporters be neutralized, and charging him with capital offenses serves as a warning to any challengers to General Musharraf. Unfortunately for Nawaz, thus far the general is way ahead of him in the court of public opinion. Ordinary Pakistanis who've watched successive civilian administrations riddle the country with corruption have for the most part applauded the military's takeover. And that means Nawaz may be inside for quite a while.
Who'd want to be a prime minister in Pakistan? Just-deposed premier Nawaz Sharif found himself in the Big House Monday, facing charges of kidnapping and attempted murder and there's a warrant out for his predecessor, too. Benazir Bhutto, however, is relatively safe, living in exile in London. But don't forget her father, the previous civilian prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged in 1977. In an exclusive courtroom interview with TIME during his Friday appearance, Nawaz indicated he had no idea of the charges against him. When the judge read the indictment, the clearly disoriented ex-prime minister told TIME's Ghulam Hasnain, "This is the first time I'm hearing this."