Imtiaz Ahmed (brigadier)
|Birth name||Imtiaz Ahmed|
Bobcat (Baghar Billa)
Pakistani James Bond:contents
June 4, 1935 :|
Gujranwala, Punjab British India
(Present day in Pakistan)
|Years of service||1960–89|
|Unit||Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers|
|Commands held||DG Intelligence Bureau
|Battles/wars||Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Operation Midnight Jackal
|Other work||Intelligence commentator
Private Security Contractor
Chairman of the Network Television Marketing
Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmed (Urdu: امتياز احمد; b. 1935:33), SBt, TI(m), also known as Imtiaz Billa, 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.
In 2001, Ahmad was convicted by the anti-corruption court when National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecuted him on monetary embazzlement. 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.
Imtiaz Ahmed was born in Gujranwala, Punjab in India on 4 June 1935, according to the Indian author, P.C. Joshi.:33 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 He graduated with B.S. in civil engineering, and earned commission as 2nd-Lt. in the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers in 1960.:33:131
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 After 1971, Ahmed was directed to attend the staff course at the Command and Staff College in Quetta.:131
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 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. 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.
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..
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.
Secrecy: policy and secrets
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.
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. Over this judicial probe, the Communist Party of Pakistan politicians have leveled accusations on Ahmed's CI bureau in Sindh of wrongfully investigating on the Nazeer Abbasi's political ambitions whose death resulted in the custody of the Sindh Police.
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
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 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
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:146 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
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:conts
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.:30-31:151
Director of IB (1990–93) and Later work
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 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
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
In 1997, Ahmed was appointed by Prime Minister Sharif as Director-General of the FIA but the appointment did not come through.:38-39 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.:38 He chaired the channel until 1999.:40
Controversies and allegations
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 The case against him was marked on the political motives, and he was later released due to lack of evidences.:159-160:9-10
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. He was sentenced to sentenced to eight years imprisonment for corruption., released in 2008–09
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. 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).
On 25 September 2010, the Supreme Court eventually released him as he already had served him time. His release was given on grounds of his age and medical condition, which he reportedly suffering from the coronary artery disease.
Forth Knowledge on Bahawalpur incident
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.
Jinnahpur plan controversy
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.
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- Who is behind the ‘get Nawaz’ campaign?, The News (Pakistan) 26 August 2009
- The politics of Brigadier ‘Billa’, The News, 31 August 2009
- Only bean-spilling spooks can tell why, Zafar Abbas, Dawn, 1 September 2009
- Brig Imtiaz reveals CIA plots, Ansar Abbasi, The News, 1 September 2009
- Brig Imtiaz reveals 30-year-old secret, Rauf Klasra, The News, 28 May 2009
- Brig Imtiaz is agent of US agencies: ex-director FIA, The News, 28 August 2009
- Brig Imtiaz takes Rehman Malik to task, The News, 2 September 2009
- Only 'Billa' can tell why