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GUL LIEUTENANT GENERAL (RETIRED)

GUL, LIEUTENANT GENERAL (RETIRED) HAMEED (1932- )Hameed Gul was born in Sargodah, a city in central Punjab and was commissioned in the armored corps on 19 October 1958 After a distinguished career that included the command of an armored division, he was appointed director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), a position that had been held for several years by General Akhtar Abdur Rahman Under Rahman, the ISI had been deeply involved in training Afghan mujahideen in their war against the Soviets and in providing them with arms and equipment Under Gul, however, the ISI’s role in Afghanistan changed, as it attempted to bring the various Afghan factions under one political umbrella He was still engaged in these efforts when in August 1988 he lost his mentor, General Zia ul-Haq Zia was killed in an airplane crash, and a few months later Benazir Bhutto became prime ministerThe government of Benazir Bhutto was suspicious of the role played by both the ISI and its director general Hameed Gul was transferred and appointed corps commander; his successor, Lieutenant General Shamsur Rehman Kallu, was a Bhutto loyalist After the appointment of General Asif Nawaz as the chief of the Army staff in August 1991, Gul was transferred once again, this time to Taxila, as the commandant of a large military-industrial complex Until then, this position had been held by engineers; Gul clearly was not well equipped for it



Rather than move to his new assignment, he chose to retire from the army, in early 1992 After spending the mandatory two-year post-retirement period out of public view, Hameed Gul entered the political arena He took the opportunity created by the war in Afghanistan to influence political development in that country While retaining an active interest in foreign affairs, Hameed Gul decided that he could only influence the country’s foreign policy if he were to develop a strong domestic political base for himself The confidence that he could make some difference in the way Pakistan was to develop politically led him first to support Pasban, a social welfare organization affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami, and then, in July 1995, to become involved in bringing the government and the Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz (MQM) to the conference table in order to find a solution to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Karachi In July, Gul met with Benazir Bhutto in Islamabad, flew to London to hold talks with MQM’s Altaf Hussain, and flew back to Karachi to announce that both the government and the MQM had agreed to dispense with their preconditions for holding talks and had decided to nominate teams that could begin immediate discussions He had underestimated the ill-will between Bhutto and Altaf Hussain, however, and his efforts did not bear fruit By the late summer of 1996, as the government of Benazir Bhutto became increasingly unpopular because of numerous stories of corruption that began to circulate in the country involving her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and as the economy came under a great deal of pressure, Hameed Gul gave the impression of a person who wanted to get involved to cleanse the system but was still trying to figure out the best way of achieving that objective He would have wanted to be actively involved in politics after President Farooq Leghari dismissed the Bhutto government in November 1996 Such an opportunity did not arise, however He continued to operate from the fringes of politics, espousing various Islamic causes

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