Imtiaz Ahmed (brigadier)

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Imtiaz Ahmed
Birth name Imtiaz Ahmed
Nickname(s) Cat (Billa)[1]
Bobcat (Baghar Billa)[2]
Pakistani James Bond:contents[3]
Imtiaz Billa
Green-eyed Jackal:96[4]
Born (1935-06-04) June 4, 1935 (age 82):33[5]
Gujranwala, Punjab British India
(Present day in Pakistan)
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Army
Years of service 1960–89
Rank OF-6 Pakistan Army.svgUS-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier
Service number PA–6280:33[5]
Unit Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers
Commands held DG Intelligence Bureau
Director JCIB
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Midnight Jackal
Operation Clean-up
Awards Medal of Excellence Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.pngTamgha-e-Imtiaz
Star of Good Conduct Sitara-e-Basalat.pngSitara-e-Basalat
Other work Intelligence commentator
Private Security Contractor
Chairman of the Network Television Marketing

Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmed (Urdu: امتياز احمد; b. 1935:33[5]), SBt, TI(m), also known as Imtiaz Billa,[6] is a retired engineering officer in the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers and a former spy who served as the Director-General of the Intelligence Bureau from 1990–93.

After a brief career in the combat engineering formations in the Pakistan Army, his career mostly spent in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), where he was responsible for running internal security before serving in the Intelligence Bureau. In 1989, his military commission was discharge when he implicated in a political scandal in trying to sabotage then-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's administration.[7]

In 2001, Ahmad was convicted by the anti-corruption court when National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecuted him on monetary embazzlement.[8] Ahmad is a controversial figure in the country, having been accused of involved in the custodial death of Communist leader Nazeer Abbasi in 1987, and later was accused of having forthknowledge on plane crash that resulted in death of President Zia-ul-Haq and his dignitaries in 1988.[9][10][11]


Imtiaz Ahmed was born in Gujranwala, Punjab in India on 4 June 1935, according to the Indian author, P.C. Joshi.:33[5] After his matriculation, he joined the Pakistan Army and entered in the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, and decided to attend the Military College of Engineering in Risalpur in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.:131[12] He graduated with B.S. in civil engineering, and earned commission as 2nd-Lt. in the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers in 1960.:33[5]:131[12]

His career is mostly spent in the Corps of Engineers, and served on the combat engineering formations during the second war with India in 1965 and third war with India in 1971.:35-36[5] After 1971, Ahmed was directed to attend the staff course at the Command and Staff College in Quetta.:131[12]

Due to his cunningness and the greenish-eye feline colors, Ahmed was famously known by his codename in the ISI as "billa" (the male cat).:30[13]

In late 1970s, he joined the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as an security analyst and remained associated with the country's intelligence community for many years.:contents[3] In 1979, Major Ahmed was posted on a security detail assignment on the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP), involved in running the background checks and providing covert security to the technicians working on the power plant.[14] In 1979, he became aware of an American CIA mole working as an engineer who was trying to seek security details on the commercial nuclear power plant for the sabotage purposes.[14]

After thoroughly running the background checks, Ahmad identified the suspected mole and eventually led a sting operation that successfully resulted in a arrest and conviction of a local Pakistani CIA agent, declaration of a few undercover CIA agents, and U.S. diplomats at the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi as personae non gratae and their return to the United States.[14].[15]

The details and veracity of such assignment has been criticized in the editorial written in Dawn, whose investigations identified the engineer who was working for the Karachi Electric (KE) electric power transmission and had been a prominent member of the Pakistan Peoples Party, not working for the nuclear power plant as claimed by Brig. Ahmed.[16]

Secrecy: policy and secrets[edit]

In 1980, Lt-Col. Ahmed joined the Joint Counterintelligence Bureau (JCIB), mainly working in counterintelligence management and overseeing the anti-communist operations in Sindh.:119-122[17]

In 1981, he began investigating the al-Zulikar, led by Murtaza Bhutto, after the hijacking of the PIA Flight–326, eventually expanding the spying on the leaders of the Movement for Restoration of Democracy led by Benazir Bhutto in 1982–85.[16]

From 1983–88, he also monitored the anticommunist judicial probe that implicated the journalists Jam Saqi and Sohail Sangi, and harboured doubts of foreign funding of Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) alliance led by Benazir Bhutto.[18] Over this judicial probe, the Communist Party of Pakistan politicians have leveled accusations on Ahmed's CI bureau in Sindh of wrongfully[16] investigating on the Nazeer Abbasi's political ambitions whose death resulted in the custody of the Sindh Police.[16]

In 1986–87, Col. Ahmed was appointed as the Director-General Intelligence Bureau (DGIB) before being posted to take over the directorship of the JCIB in Islamabad when Lt-Gen. Akhtar Abdur Rahman became DG ISI.:contents[19]

In 1988, Brig. Ahmed was appointed as director of Political Wing of the ISI in Islamabad, managing the country's internal security and tried uniting the conservative mass against the left-oriented Pakistan Peoples Party.:contents[20] Due to the complaints of Naseerullah Babar, Security Adviser at the Interior Ministry, Brig. Ahmad was rotated back to the Corps of Engineers on a construction engineering assignment in Risalpur but his skills on intelligence management and extraction was valuable, eventually found a way to secretly serve in the Intelligence Bureau.:contents[21]

In 1989, Brig. Imtiaz, in secret conversation with Major Amir Khan, talked on sponsoring the Members of Parliament (MP) belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party to bring about a vote of no-confidence movement to remove Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in order to bring PML(N) led by its then-President Fida Mohammad and his chief secretary Nawaz Sharif in the administration.:contents[22]:146[23] The plan backfired when the conversation was apparently videotaped by the IB and ISI, and released to the public, which eventually led to the General Mirza Aslam Beg, then-army chief, to allow the Military Intelligence (MI) to conduct the inquiry in such manner.:146[23]

Both Brig. Ahmed and Major Amir Khan were discharged from their military commission in 1989, and the inquiry remains classified since it is still unclear who the real culprit behind the plot was or was it under the instructions of the DG ISI Shamsur Rahman Kallu.:146[23]:conts[3][24]

After his discharge in 1989, he was reportedly employed by then-Chief Minister of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif, as his Additional Chief Secretary in the Government of Punjab, which he served until 1990.:30-31[25]:151[5]

Director of IB (1990–93) and Later work[edit]

When the general elections were held in 1990, which saw Nawaz Sharif forming the first government, Imtiaz Ahmed was re-appointed as the Director-General of the Intelligence Bureau (DGIB).:124[26] In 1992, he aided in launching of the armed operation to cleanse the Karachi of "anti-social" elements, and ultimately targeting the MQM once the conspiracy to partitioned Karachi from Sindh was unearthed.:75[27][28]

After the resignations of the Prime Minister Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Ahmed resigned from the directorship of the Intelligence Bureau, which he termed his resignation as "on principle" on 19 April 1992.:29[29]

In 1997, Ahmed was appointed by Prime Minister Sharif as Director-General of the FIA but the appointment did not come through.:38-39[5] On October 1997, Ahmed took over the chairmanship of the NTM, appointed by the NTM's board of directors amid controversy when NTM's chairman Faisal Sher Jan was fired from the channel[30].:38[5] He chaired the channel until 1999.:40[5]

Controversies and allegations[edit]

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto secured the plurality after the general elections held in 1993, and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto opened the investigation and inquiry when authorizing the arrest warrants of Imtiaz Ahmed on charges of indulging in illegal activities in 1994.:159-160[31] The case against him was marked on the political motives, and he was later released due to lack of evidences.:159-160[31]:9-10[32]

After the turnover of the government in 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf, the inquiries led by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) indicted him on large-scale corruption and misappropriation of funds while serving as the Director of IB, eventually found him guilty in 2001.[33] He was sentenced to sentenced to eight years imprisonment for corruption., released in 2008–09[33]

On 21 September 2010, Imtiaz Ahmed was again arrested along with Adnan Khawaja, the former chairman of the OGDC, and was shifted to Adiala Prison where they were earlier arrested from the courtroom.[34] In a Supreme Court bench headed by then-Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who heard the NRO implementation case, Ahmed was arrested from the court on orders by Supreme Court during the hearing of a case relating the implementation of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).[34]

On 25 September 2010, the Supreme Court eventually released him as he already had served him time.[35][36][37] His release was given on grounds of his age and medical condition, which he reportedly suffering from the coronary artery disease.[34]

Forth Knowledge on Bahawalpur incident[edit]

In 2009, Humayun Akhtar Khan, the former Commerce minister and son of Gen. Akhtar Abdur Rahman, had leveled accusations when he reportedly marked: Brig. Imtiaz is the man who encouraged my father to board on the C-130 aircraft which later met an accident. I ask Brig. Imtiaz to explain what led him to play a role in my father's killing, Humayun Akhtar maintained.[38]

Jinnahpur plan controversy[edit]

After his release in 2009, Ahmed became an intelligence commentator and gave several television interviews on intelligence management and revealed that the Jinnahpur conspiracy was fabricated while giving more information on the secret funding of political parties against the Pakistan Peoples Party.[39][40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Special reporter, correspondents (25 March 2013). "Cat out of the bag: Brig 'Billa' booked in bogus cheque case - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. The Express Tribune, 2013. The Express Tribune. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  2. ^ "Only bean-spilling spooks can tell why". DAWN.COM. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Kiessling, Hein (2016). "Midnight Jackal Affair". Faith, Unity, Discipline: The Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan (google books) (1st ed.). Oxford Ul: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849048637. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  4. ^ Malik, I. (1996). "Security Agencies against Citizens". State and Civil Society in Pakistan: Politics of Authority, Ideology and Ethnicity (googlebooks). Washington DC, U.S.: Springer. p. 330. ISBN 9780230376298. Retrieved 18 November 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Joshi, P. C. (2008). Main Intelligence Outfits Of Pakistan. Anmol Publications Pvt. Limited. p. 435. ISBN 9788126135509. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  6. ^ Shah, Sabir (12 September 2013). "Recapping the previous Karachi operations". The News. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Ahmed, Khaled (28 March 2002) How blameless is the ISI? The Friday Times
  8. ^ BBC Former Pakistan intelligence chief sentenced 31-July-2001
  9. ^ Daily The News International 29 August 2009
  10. ^ Custodial death of Nazeer Abbasi, The News, 31 August 2009
  11. ^ Brig Imtiaz’s arrest demanded for communist leader’s murder, Daily Times, 31 August 2009
  12. ^ a b c Ahmad, Imtiaz (2004). National Defence College Journal. National Defence University press. 
  13. ^ The Herald. Pakistan Herald Publications. 1991. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  14. ^ a b c Abbasi, Ansar (1 September 2009). "Brig Imtiaz reveals CIA plots". Islamabad: The News International , Abbasi. The News International. Archived from the original (web.archive) on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  15. ^ Klasra, Rauf. "How a jilted Karachi woman saved Pak N-programme". The News International. Archived from the original on 31 January 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c d Abbasi, Zafar; Editorial, Dawn (1 September 2009). "Only bean-spilling spooks can tell why" (html). DAWN.COM. Islamabad, Pakistan: Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 18 November 2017. 
  17. ^ Ahmed, Khaled (2002). Pakistan: The State in Crisis. Vanguard. 
  18. ^ Khan, Tahir Hassan (31 August 2009). "The politics of Brigadier 'Billa'". Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan: Tahir Hassan Khan's report at The News International. The News International. Archived from the original (webarchives) on 31 August 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2017. 
  19. ^ Kiessling, Hein (2016). Faith, Unity, Discipline: The Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849048637. Retrieved 18 November 2017. 
  20. ^ Sirrs, Owen L. (2016). Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate: Covert Action and Internal Operations. Routledge. ISBN 9781317196082. Retrieved 19 November 2017. 
  21. ^ Kiessling, Hein (2016). Faith, Unity, Discipline: The Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849048637. Retrieved 19 November 2017. 
  22. ^ Kiessling, Hein (2016). Faith, Unity, Discipline: The Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849048637. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  23. ^ a b c Sirrs, Owen L. (2016). "Intelligence wars". Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate: Covert Action and Internal Operations (googlebooks) (1 ed.). New York: Routledge. p. 310. ISBN 9781317196099. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  24. ^ Khan, Ism (29 August 2009). "In the News – Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmad". 
  25. ^ Hussain, Mushahid; Hussain, Akmal; CPR, Centre for Policy Research (New Delhi (1993). Pakistan: problems of governance. New Delhi, India: Konark Publishers. p. 166. 
  26. ^ Sehgal, Ikram ul-Majeed (2005). Defence Journal. Ikram ul-Majeed Sehgal. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  27. ^ Hoodbhoy, Nafisa (2011). "News is what the rulers wants to hide". Aboard the Democracy Train: A Journey Through Pakistan's Last Decade of Democracy (google books). Karachi, Pakistan: Anthem Press. ISBN 9780857289063. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  28. ^ Associate Press. "Details of Brig. (R) Imtiaz Ahmed". 
  29. ^ JPRS Report: Near East & South Asia. Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 1993. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  30. ^ Joshi, P. C. (2008). Main Intelligence Outfits Of Pakistan. Anmol Publications Pvt. Limited. ISBN 9788126135509. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  31. ^ a b Raman, B. (2002). "Financial and Narcotics Intelligence". Intelligence: Past, Present & Future (google books). Lancer Publishers. p. 400. ISBN 9788170622222. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  32. ^ World in Transition. Gyan Publishing House. 2003. ISBN 9788178352657. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  33. ^ a b staff writer, staff (31 July 2001). "Former Pakistan intelligence chief sentenced". BBC Pakistan Bureau. BBC. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  34. ^ a b c "Brig (R) Imtiaz released on bail - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  35. ^ "Former Brigadier Imtiaz released from Adiala Jail". Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  36. ^ "Brig. (retd.) Imtiaz Ahmed released - Samaa TV". Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  37. ^ "Brigadier (R) Imtiaz released on LHC orders - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 25 September 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  38. ^ The Press Report (29 August 2009). "Brig. (R) Imtiaz trying to get world attention". The News International. Jang Group of Newspapers. 
  39. ^ ‘Midnight Jackal’ was launched to overthrow Benazir: Imtiaz, Daily Times, 28 August 2009
  40. ^ Who is behind the ‘get Nawaz’ campaign?, The News (Pakistan) 26 August 2009

Further reading[edit]