Mahmud Ahmed

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Mahmud Ahmed
Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence
In office
20 October 1999 – 7 October 2001
Preceded byGen. Ziauddin Butt
Succeeded byLt-Gen. Ehsan ul Haq
President of the National Defence University
In office
Preceded byLt. Gen. Maqbool Ahmad
Succeeded byLt. Gen. Salah ul Din Tirmazi
Personal details
Mahmud Ahmed

c. 1944 (age 77–78)
Ludhiana, Punjab, British India
(Present-day in Punjab in India)
Military service
Allegiance Pakistan
Branch/service Pakistan Army
Years of service1964–2001
RankOF-8 PakistanArmy.svgUS-O9 insignia.svgLieutenant-General
UnitPakistan Army Artillery Corps
CommandsCorps of Artillery
X Corps in Rawalpindi
DG Military Intelligence
23rd Infantry Division in Jhelum
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistan War of 1965
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
Indo-Pakistani War of 1999
India-Pakistan standoff 2001
War in Afghanistan in 2001
AwardsCrescent of Excellence Hilal-e-Imtiaz.pngHilal-e-Imtiaz (military)

Lieutenant-General Mahmud Ahmed (Urdu: محمود احمد; b. 1944) HI(M), is a retired three-star rank army general in the Pakistan Army who served as the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence from 1999 to 2001.

He commanded the X Corps and was considered to be a well-respected general who led from the front. In 1999 he highlighted the Kashmir issue through his book called "A History of 1965 War" and was identified as one of the four army generals who helped safely land a local passenger plane carrying Lt. Gen Musharraf which was ordered to be sent to India by the then PM Nawaz Sharrif. The plane is said to be carrying innocent civilians and school children. This was ordered by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999.[1] As the DG ISI, Mahmud actively supported the sponsorship of the Islamic fundamentalism by endorsing the Talibans in Afghanistan under its Emir Mohammad Omar in 2000.[2] This information has not been verified by any official or non official source.

Despite being responsible for stabilizing Lt. Gen.Pervez Musharraf's presidency in the wake of an economic crisis in Pakistan, Lt-Gen. Ahmed resigned from his commission as he refused to support policies affecting the region negatively. CNN described him as the second most powerful man in the country while he was visiting USA on an official visit. He was invited to the CNN headquarters in Atlanta and was considered to be a dashing gentleman with a penchant for literature and was a prolific writer, artist and quoted Iqbal and Rumi equally well. Later on Wendy Chamberlin described him to be a loyal, professional and an upright soldier of the Pakistan army who propounded peace in the region. She often described him as a man who was well versed in history, art, religion and languages and was a devout Muslim, soldier and family man who wanted peace for both the West and the East.


Mahmud Ahmed was born in 1944 in Ludhiana, Punjab in India, and joined the Pakistan Army in 1964 where he did his combat duty, first participating in second war with India in 1965.[3] His family emigrated from India to Bhaiwala, Faisalabad Pakistan after India's partition on 14/15 August 1947.: contents [4] He secured his graduation from the Lawrence College in Murree before attending Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul in 1965.[5]

He passed out from the PMA Kakul in 1966 where he commissioned as 2nd-Lt in the 16th Self-Propelled (SP) in the Corps of Artillery. Lieutenant Ahmed was the regimental colleague of then army Captain Pervez Musharraf.[6] He participated in the third war with India on the western front.: 15 [7]

In the 1980s and 1990s, Ahmed served in the ISI where he worked under Lt-Gen. Hamid Gul.: contents [8]

In 1994–95, Major-General Ahmed commanded the 23rd Infantry Division as its GOC, stationed in Jhelum in Punjab, Pakistan.: 227 [5]

His career in the military is mostly spent in the military intelligence and became the Director-General of the Military Intelligence (DG MI), when he took it over from then-Maj-Gen. Ali Kuli Khan in October 1995.: 82 [9] In June 1998, Maj-Gen. Ahmed was promoted to three-star rank, Lieutenant-General and was moved the President of the National Defence University (NDU) in Islamabad by then-Chairman joint chiefs Gen. Jehangir Karamat.: 179 [3]

X Corps and Kargil war with India[edit]

In October 1998, -Chairman joint chiefs Gen. Pervez Musharraf appointed Lt-Gen. Ahmed as the field commander of the X Corps, and as soon as he was appointed to command the X Corps the planning of the covert infiltration in Indian Kashmir begin to implemented under Lt-Gen. Aziz Khan, the CGS under Gen. Musharraf in Rawalpindi.: 309–310 [10] In the military, Lt-Gen. Ahmed was described as ultraconservative, professional and kind to his subordinates though some found him to be control minded with a very short-temper.: 179 [3]

Lt-Gen. Ahmed greatly aided in providing the tactical support of mass troop infiltration, starting first by closely and micromanaging the troop deployment near the LoC.: 310 [10] In July 1999, he provided the briefing to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the troop deployments, eventually giving a go-ahead for the military operation.: Contents [11]: 412 [12]

After the Kargil war, the Pakistani Investigative journalist news reports identified that there were four army generals who were in much control of the area contingency plans in Kargil including Lt-Gen. Aziz Khan, the CGS under Gen. Musharraf, Lt-Gen. Shahid Aziz of ISI's Analysis Wing, and Lt-Gen. Jan Orakzai, commanding the XI Corps, besides Lt-Gen. Mahmud.: 101 [13][1] There were no official military inquiries into this incident nor there were any subsequent evidence that led to the punishments of those responsible for such incidents.[14]

On 12 October 1999, Lt-Gen. Ahmed refused to accept to follow the orders of new chain of command set up by then-army chief Gen. Ziauddin Butt and ordered his X Corps to seize the control of the Prime Minister's Secretariat while Lt-Gen. Aziz Khan, the CGS under Gen. Musharraf, took control of the Jinnah Terminal in Karachi as the PIA aircraft carrying Lt. Gen Musharraf and innocent civilians and children was refused to land in Pakistan.: contents [15]

After the martial law in 1999, Lt-Gen. Ahmed subsequently appointed as the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and his tenure-ship is marked with alleged terror financing of al-Qaeda and sponsoring the Talibans in Afghanistan.: contents [16]: contents [17] On 17 March 2001, Lt-Gen. Ahmad was appointed as the Colonel commandant of the Corps of Artillery at the Artillery Regimental Center on 17 March 2001.[18] Mahmud was later replaced by Lt General Khalid Kidwai as the colonel commandant on 13 October 2004.[19]

In 2001, Lt-Gen. Ahmad regularly visited the United States where he consulted with The Pentagon and CIA officials in the Bush administration in the weeks before and after terrorist attacks took place in New York on 11 September 2001.[20] In fact, he was with U.S. Republican Congressman Porter Goss and U.S. Democratic Senator Bob Graham in Washington, D.C., discussing Osama bin Laden over breakfast, when the attacks of September 11, 2001 took place in New York, United States.[21][22]

On the morning of Sept. 12, the deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, told Mahmood that Pakistan had to make a choice "you are either 100 percent with us or 100 percent against us—there is no gray area."[23] This statement was later denied by Armitage. Mahmood expressed willingness to cooperate, however in the afternoon, he told George Tenet, the CIA director, that Mullah Omar, the Taliban chief, was a religious man not a man of violence. On September 16, Musharraf sent a delegation to the Taliban with the mission to convince them to hand over Osama bin Laden which included Lieutenant General Mahmood, and other religious figures.

Eventually in 2001 Lieutenant-General Mahmud Ahmed was forced to leave the ISI after links between him and a payment he had ordered were found by the FBI. Linking him to one of the 9/11 bombers. Mustafa al-Hawsawi.[24][25]

He wrote a book initially titled "The Myth of 1965 Victory".[26] It was carefully researched and included numerous maps and other details. It questioned the official Pakistani view about winning the war, and acknowledged that the war was initiated "as a clandestine guerrilla struggle".[27] Upon Musharraf's directive, almost all the copies of the book were bought by Pakistan Army to prevent circulation because the topic was "too sensitive".[28][29] The book was published with the revised title "History of Indo Pak War 1965". It was published by Services Book Club, a part of the Pakistan military. A few copies of the book have survived in libraries.[30] A version was published in India as "Illusion of Victory: A Military History of the Indo-Pak War-1965" by Lexicon Publishers.[31] A second reprint of the book was published recently in 2017 in Pakistan.[27]

Post-retirement and Islamic missionary activity[edit]

After this termination, Ahmed critiqued President Pervez Musharraf's policy on siding with the United States, without effectively addressing the issue of containing the terrorists organizations.: 184 [32]

He viewed the American attack on Afghanistan with great suspicion, and had held sympathetic views towards the Talibans in Afghanistan.: 184 [3] He later regretted his role in playing his part in bringing to help stabilize Gen. Pervez Musharraf's role against the civilian government when he joined the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy that viewed to removing Musharraf's administration.: 184 [3] Ahmed opposed the US invasion of Afghanistan.: 184 [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with army general linked to the 1999 coup". The Economic Times. The Economic Times, PTI. The Economic Times. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  2. ^ Tariq Ali, The Duel, 2008 Simon & Schuster
  3. ^ a b c d e f Joshi, P. C. (2008). Main Intelligence Outfits Of Pakistan (snippet view). Anmol Publications Pvt. Limited. p. 435. ISBN 9788126135509. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  4. ^ Kiessling, Hein (2016). "(§The ISI under Pervez Musharraf)". Faith, Unity, Discipline: The Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan (google books) (2nd ed.). Karachi University: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849048637. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b Bhattacharya, Brigadier Samir (2014). NOTHING BUT!. Partridge Publishing. p. 580. ISBN 9781482817874. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  6. ^ Shegal, Maj. Ikram (9 October 2001). "Choosing Merit over Friendship - Media Monitors Network (MMN)". Media Monitors Network (MMN). Media Monitors Network (MMN). Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  7. ^ Fair, C. Christine (2014). "§Can Strategic Culture explain's Pakistan Army's Persistent Revisionism?". Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War (google books). Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. p. 310. ISBN 9780199892716. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. ^ Sehri, Inam (2012). Judges and Generals of Pakistan Volume - I. Grosvenor House Publishing. ISBN 9781781480434. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  9. ^ Verma, Ashok Kalyan (2002). Kargil, Blood on the Snow: Tactical Victory, Strategic Failure : a Critical Analysis of the War. Manohar. p. 227. ISBN 9788173044113. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b Khan, Feroz (2012). "§A Shaky beginning: Kargil and its Aftermath". Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb (google books) (1st ed.). Palo Alto, CA, U.S.: Stanford University Press. p. 410. ISBN 9780804784801. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  11. ^ Rathore, Azad Singh (2016). Kargil: The Heights of Bravery. Partridge Publishing. ISBN 9781482887563. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  12. ^ Rashid, Ahmed (2008). Descent Into Chaos: The US and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. Penguin. ISBN 9780670019700. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  13. ^ Jones, Owen Bennett (2003). "§Kashmir". Pakistan: Eye of the Storm (1st ed.). New York, US: Yale University Press. p. 310. ISBN 0300101473. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  14. ^ Raman, B. (18 September 2000). "Pakistan: Mullahs' blue-eyed general". Islamabad: Work written by B. Raman, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India.). The Hindu. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  15. ^ Sehri, Inam (2012). Judges and Generals of Pakistan Volume - I. Grosvenor House Publishing. ISBN 9781781480434. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  16. ^ Jan, Abid Ullah (2006). From BCCI to ISI: The Saga of Entrapment Continues. ISBN 9780973368765.
  17. ^ Gupta, Amit (2016). Strategic Stability in Asia. Routledge. ISBN 9781351897556. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Ceremony for Colonel Commandant of the Corps of Artillery" Archived 2008-08-19 at the Wayback Machine President of Pakistan Press Release, 17 March 2001
  19. ^ "President Address on the occasion of installation ceremony of Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai as the Colonel Commandant" Archived 2008-08-19 at President of Pakistan Press Release, 13 October 2004
  20. ^ Abbas, Hassan. "Inside Story of Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs". H. Abbas, John F. Kennedy School of Government. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  21. ^ Richard Leiby. A Cloak But No Dagger The Washington Post, 18 May 2002
  23. ^ Inside Story of Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle, Hassan Abbas, Sep. 26, 2006
  24. ^ See Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
  25. ^ Michael Meacher (21 July 2004). "The Pakistan connection". The Guardian.
  26. ^ Can the ISI change its spots? By Akhtar Payami, Dawn (newspaper) 7 October 2006
  27. ^ a b HISTORY OF INDO-PAK WAR 1965 by Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmed (Retired), EBAY, 07 Jan, 2018
  28. ^ Army attempts to prevent book sales by Amir Mir Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Gulf News 1 October 2006 Musharraf buys all copies of sensitive '65 war Daily News & Analysis
  29. ^ Inside Story of Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle, Hassan Abbas, Sep. 26, 2006 – (Belfer Center for International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School)
  30. ^ Catalogue of the National Defence University Library, Islamabad, Title: History of Indo Pak War-1965 Author: Mahmud Ahmed Lt Gen Retd
  31. ^ Illusion of Victory: A Military History of the Indo-Pak War-1965, Mahmud Ahmed, Lexicon Publishers, 2002 - India
  32. ^ Joshi, P. C. (2008). Main Intelligence Outfits Of Pakistan. Anmol Publications Pvt. Limited. ISBN 9788126135509. Retrieved 26 February 2018.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence
1999 – 2001
Succeeded by