Operation Midnight Jackal

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Operation Midnigh Jackal
Operational scope operational tactical
Location ISI Secretariat, Islamabad
Planned 1989
Planned by Directorate for the Internal Political Intelligence
Target Benazir Bhutto's government
Prime minister Secretariat
Date 1989
Outcome Operation/Mission failed
Successful infiltration and sting counter-operation by Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB)
Courts-martial launched by Judge Advocate General Corps
Casualties None

Operation Midnight Jackal was a covert-intelligence operation that was widely reported as one of the high profile political scandals during the first government of Prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 1989. The Midnight Jackal was exposed by ISI in a sting operation of theirs, when it had obtained a tape from Intelligence Bureau (IB) containing a conversation of two active-duty army officers and a rogue ISI operative regarding toppling the government. This ring was headed by a ISI rogue agent Brigadier-General Imtiaz "the Cat" Ahmed, who was widely regarded as the mastermind of this plot.[1]

The tape exposed the conversation of another rogue agent Major Amir Khan, who revealed that General Mirza Aslam Beg, the then-Chief of Army Staff, with the backing of the conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, had ambitions to topple the Benazir Bhutto's government, and to bring a more conservative Nawaz Sharif and other conservatives in power instead.

Due to the lack of sufficient evidence against the Chief of Army Staff, his court martial could not take place. The Judge Advocate General Corps launched the full-fledged military inquiry against the Brigadier-General Ahmed and Major Amir Khan, subsequently ending their military careers. The military investigators and military lawyers of prosecution revealed that Major Amir Khan was the architect of the Midnight Jackal, under the auspicious of Brigadier-General Ahmed. The investigations revealed that some members of the establishment wanted to pay hefty bribes to the senior leadership of Benazir Bhutto's Peoples Party to bring the vote of no confidence movement in the Parliament, according to the VII Amendment. The military lawyers also reported that the objectives of the Midnight Jackal were to support Nawaz Sharif as the establishment was said to have "liked" or preferred Sharif as a country's prime minister, and was a part of his political camp. Major Amir Khan told his military lawyers that: "Nawaz Sharif was more acceptable to the [Pakistan] Army than Benazir Bhutto, and the establishment was against of every leader who had people’s mandate behind them. They prefer weak leaders like Sharif, which the Army could control", Major Amir Khan maintained.


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