Imtiaz Ahmed (brigadier)

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Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmed
Born Gujranwala , Punjab Province Pakistan
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Army
Years of service 1969–1992
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier
Unit Baluch Regiment
Commands held DG Intelligence Bureau (DGIB)
Additional DG Inter-Services Intelligence
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Sun Rise
Operation Midnight Jackal
Soviet war in Afghanistan
Operation Clean-up
Awards Tamgha-e-Basalat (1979)

Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmed, also known as Imtiaz Billa,[1] is a retired one-star general of the Pakistan Army who served as a former director-general of Intelligence Bureau (I.B.) in the years 1990–93. As a one-star general, Brigadier Imatiaz Ahmad had served as a former senior intelligence operative in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He earned notoriety for his role in the covert Operation Midnight Jackal to destabilise the democratic government of Prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 1989.[2] In a military trial held by Judge Advocate General Branch of Pakistan, the Brigadier was found guilty and was sacked by the Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Beg. He was imprisoned on corruption charges in 2001 as part of the national accountability drive of former President and Chief of Army Staff General Pervaiz Musharraf.[3]

In August 2009, he gave several television interviews in which he revealed that Jinnahpur conspiracy was fabricated, and gave more details about Operation Midnight Jackal[4][5] and the Mehran Bank scandal. He is thought to be involved in the killing of General Zia ul Haq and General Akhtar Abdur Rehman in 1988. This was stated by a politician and son of General Akhtar Abdur Rehman Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan who said that "Brig. Imtiaz is the man who encouraged my father to board the C-130 which later met an accident."[6] However, Imtiaz denies that.

Billa has also been accused of the custodial murder of Sindhi Communist leader Nazeer Abbasi.[7][8]

Military and intelligence career[edit]

Ahmad had a commission in the Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army and had participated in Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. He was one of the close associates of former military dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, and was put in charge of horrible dealing of General Zia's political opponents. He gained public fame when, in 1979, then-Lieutenant Colonel Imatiaz thwarted the CIA's secret plan to sabotage the nuclear deterrent program.[9] Lt.Col. Ahmed conducted the operation (Operation Sun Rising) along with then-DG ISI, resulting in the arrest of the local nuclear engineer who was believed to be an American spy. His efforts led him to gain Tamgha-e-Basalat and he was promoted to the rank of Colonel.[10] During the 1980s, Imtiaz was the head of the "ISI Karachi Headquarters" and was the central figure in derailing the Sindh based-Sindhudesh and Communist Party of Pakistan.

Association with General Zia[edit]

In early 1980s, Colonel Imtiaz who was supervising the anti-communist operation in Karachi and elsewhere in Sindh province, got assigned another task by the dictator and an Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to suppressed the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD).[11] Then-Colonel Imtiaz, as the "Sindh ISI chief", handled the General Zia's political opponents and enemies harshly. He gained notoriety in Pakistani political circles when a political activist and a Sindhi Communist leader Nazeer Abbasi was murdered in his custody. The purpose of the murder of political activist Nazeer Abbasi was to warn political workers and the hijacking incident was to sabotage the MRD action launched against General Zia-ul Haq. As a result of his work, General Zia personally promoted Colonel Billa as brigadier in the army.[12] Abbasi had died during torture as attempts were made to extract information from eight prominent members of the defunct Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP). The news had come out once his body was handed over to his relatives for burial, but the newspapers were unable to publish the reason for his death because of strict censorship.

A professor of political science in Karachi University, Dr. Jamal Naqvi, one of the arrested communist leaders, later mentioned in his testimony during the famous "Jam Saqi trial", it was Nazir Abbasi's death that saved the rest of the detainees from further torture, as they were soon shifted from a military interrogation cell to a Karachi prison.[13]

ISI career[edit]

In 1987, Brigadier Imtiaz was promoted as an Additional Director General of the external intelligence agency, the ISI. He gained nationwide notoriety for his central role in the covert Operation Midnight Jackal, an operation that aimed to dethrone the elected government of Prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 1989. Brigadier Imtiaz, along with ISI agent Major Amir were caught red-handed. In 1989, he, along with major Amir, were arrested by the Pakistani military police and the espionage case against the preparers were launched in the special military courts. In a military tribunal of the Judge Advocate General Branch led by the then-Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Baig, the Brigadier was founded guilty in masterminding the operation.[14] He was sacked by the Chief of Army Staff and received a dishonorable discharge from the army.

Intelligence Bureau (IB)[edit]

Nawaz Sharif who was the then Chief minister of Punjab, appointed Billa as his security adviser in the "Chief Minister House of Punjab". Later, Nawaz Sharif made him I.B. Director General when Sharif became prime minister in 1990. Notorious for his harsh treatment of his political enemies and opponents, the I.B. chief again launched a military operation, Operation Clean-up that sought to 'cleanse' the city of 'anti-social' elements, in 1992. The main objective of the operation was to remove the social elements and the top leadership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).[15] The operation resulted in numerous death of the civilians, many of the MQM workers and political leaders were killed under his custody. In August 2009, in a television interview, he revealed that Jinnahpur conspiracy was fabricated and the evidence against the MQM was made it up by the anti-MQM elements. In 1993, he was removed from the IB and subsequestely was retired.

Corruption charges[edit]

The Brigadier was again arrested by the military police. In a stand-up trial, the Judge Advocate General Branch (JAG) of Pakistan Defence Forces. A central and notorious figure in Pakistan, he believed to played a major role in Mehran Bank scandal. The JAG sentenced him eight years imprisonment for corruption.[16] On 21 September 2010, Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmed was again arrested along with Adnan Khawaja Ex chairman of OGDCL, and have been shifted to Adiala Jail they were earlier arrested from the courtroom. A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the NRO implementation case where he was arrested from the court on orders by Supreme Court (SC) during the hearing of a case relating the implementation of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).[17]

Allegations in the involvement of Zia's death[edit]

Despite for his work to protect the General Zia's regime, Brigadier Imtiaz had been accused by the former federal minister of the Ministry of Commerce Humayun Akhtar Khan had accused the Brigadier and said: Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmed is issuing controversial statements only to attract world attention. Brig. Imtiaz is the man who encouraged my father to board the C-130 aircraft which later met an accident. I ask Brig. (Retd.) Imtiaz to explain what led him to play a role in my father's killing, Humayun Akhtar maintained. He is also accused of assassinating Pakistani revolutionary leader Nazeer Abbasi.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shah, Sabir (12 September 2013). "Recapping the previous Karachi operations". The News. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Ahmed, Khaled (28 March 2002) How blameless is the ISI? The Friday Times
  3. ^ BBC Former Pakistan intelligence chief sentenced 31-July-2001
  4. ^ ‘Midnight Jackal’ was launched to overthrow Benazir: Imtiaz, Daily Times, 28 August 2009
  5. ^ Who is behind the ‘get Nawaz’ campaign?, The News (Pakistan) 26 August 2009
  6. ^ Daily The News International 29 August 2009
  7. ^ Custodial death of Nazeer Abbasi, The News, 31 August 2009
  8. ^ Brig Imtiaz’s arrest demanded for communist leader’s murder, Daily Times, 31 August 2009
  9. ^ Abbasi, Ansar (1 September 2009), "Brig Imtiaz reveals CIA plots", The News International 
  10. ^ Klasra, Rauf. "How a jilted Karachi woman saved Pak N-programme". The News International. 
  11. ^ Abbas, Zafar (1 September 2009). "Only 'Billa' can tell why". The Dawn Newspapers (Dawn Group of Newspapers). 
  12. ^ Abbas, Zafar (1 September 2009). "Only bean-spilling spooks can tell why". The Dawn Newspapers (Dawn Group of Newspapers). 
  13. ^ Khan, Tahir Hasan (31 August 2009). "The politics of Brigadier 'Billa’". The News International (Karachi: Jang Group of Newspapers). 
  14. ^ Khan, Ism (29 August 2009). "In the News – Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmad". multipak.wordpress.com. 
  15. ^ Associate Press. "Details of Brig. (R) Imtiaz Ahmed". 
  16. ^ The Associate Press (31 July 2001). "Former Pakistan intelligence chief sentenced". BBC News. 
  17. ^ GEO Pakistan. "Brig. Imtiaz, Adnan Khawja arrested, shifted to Adiala Jail". GEO News. 
  18. ^ The Press Report (29 August 2009). "Brig. (R) Imtiaz trying to get world attention". The News International (Jang Group of Newspapers). 

Further reading[edit]