Hamid Gul born 20 November 1936) HI(M), SBt, is a retired high-ranking general officer in the Pakistan Army, and a former spymaster famous for serving as the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, between 1987 and 1989 during the late stages of and post-stages of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.Gul is widely known and credited for pressing the hard-line policies on India after starting the insurgency in Kashmir against India in 1989 by diverting the Mujahideen who participated in the Soviet war to Indian-held Kashmir. Gul was also instrumental in the establishment of the Taliban and was once known as the "father of the Taliban". Apart from the Kashmir militancy in India and the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, Gul is also accused by the United States of having ties to Islamic terrorist organisations such as the Al Qaeda.
Gul's tenure as the director of the ISI coincided with Benazir Bhutto's term as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Later, Gul established the Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA). Hamid Gul was born on 20 November 1936 to Muhammad Khan, in the Sargodha District of Punjab in what was then British India but now Pakistan. He got his early education from a school in his village. He briefly got admission in Government College Lahore, before reporting to Pakistan Military Academy Kakul.
Hamid Gul was commissioned in the Pakistan Army in October 1957 with the 18th PMA Long Course in the 19th Lancers regiment of the Armoured Corps. He was a Tank commander during the 1965 war with India. During 1972–1976, Gul directly served under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq as a battalion commander, and then as Staff Colonel, when General Zia was GOC, 1st Armoured Division and Commander, II Corps at Multan. Thus, Gul had already cemented his ties with General Zia by serving under him when both were officers in the Armoured regiments of the II Corps. Gul was promoted to Brigadier in 1978 and steadily rose to be the Martial Law Administrator of Bahawalpur and the Commander of the 1st Armoured Division, Multan in 1982, his appointments expressly wished by Zia himself.
Gul was then sent to GHQ as the Director-General or DG Military Intelligence (DGMI) under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who then nominated him to be the ISI chief succeeding General Akhtar Abdur Rahman in March 1987. He was later replaced as the ISI commander by PM Benazir Bhutto in May 1989 and Gul was transferred as the commander, II Corps in Multan. In this capacity, Gul conducted the Zarb-e-Momin military exercise in November–December 1989, the biggest Pakistani Armed Forces show of muscle since 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.General Asif Nawaz upon taking the reins of Pakistan Army in August 1991, had Gul transferred as the DG Heavy Industries Taxila. A menial job compared to Gul's stature, Gul refused to take the assignment, an act for which he was retired from the army.
Career as ISI Chief
Execution of failed Jalalabad operation
During his time as head of the ISI and the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Gul was blamed for planning and executing the operation to capture Jalalabad from the Afghan army in the spring of 1989. This switch to conventional warfare was seen as a mistake by some since the mujahideen did not have the capacity to capture a major city. But the Pakistani army was intent on installing a fundamentalist-dominated government in Afghanistan, with Jalalabad as their provisional capital, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf as Prime Minister, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as Foreign Minister.
Contrary to Pakistani expectations, this battle proved that the Afghan army could fight without Soviet help, and greatly increased the confidence of government supporters. Conversely, the morale of the mujahideen involved in the attack slumped and many local commanders of Hekmatyar and Sayyaf concluded truces with the government. In the words of Brigadier Mohammad Yousef, an officer of the ISI, "the jihad [meaning the plans for Hekmatyar to be installed as prime minister] never recovered from Jalalabad". As a result of this failure, Hamid Gul was sacked by Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and replaced by Shamsur Rahman Kallu, who pursued a more classical policy of support to the militants fighting Afghanistan.