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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Aaoun Sahi interviews Brig. Imtiaz

TNS: If so, how do you explain your role in Operation Midnight Jackal?

IA: The use of word operation for this small incident is a highly trumpeted drama. In this incident my involvement revolved round the blind trust and one sided loyalty that I accorded to my two seniormost superiors General Aslam Beg and Hameed Gul. I was called by Aslam Beg the then COAS and told that the policies of this government regarding nuclear programme, Afghan Policy and interference in the matters of army were creating problems for the country and sought my help in the matter. These two gentlemen, Beg and Gul, were the controlling figures of Midnight Jackal while federal defence secretary Ijlal Haider Zaidi was assisting them. Hamid Gul was serving as corps commander Multan at the time but he used to visit Rawalpindi every week without GHQ permission. There he used to see Ijlal Haider Zaidi regularly while Major Amir and I were also asked to often meet.

Malik Mumtaz, a grade 17 officer of military engineering service and a friend of Major Amir was the central villain of this incident. After this incident, he landed in India with the help of RAW and from there in London. During the second government of PPP he came back. He should have been convicted under the Army Act. Instead he was elevated to grade 18 and posted in FIA and later he interrogated me and blamed me for distributing millions of rupees among journalists. I want to tell you that during my 15 years long intelligence career, I have never given money to any journalist except one and that was only Rs5,000 and that too was sanctioned by DG ISI; at that time I was not allowed to give more than Rs500 without prior permission of DG ISI. I was also charged with corruption and mainly because when I was director IB, one day Rs15 million were transferred to its account and by the evening same day I used this sum. During investigation FIA people asked about this amount but I refused to tell them the truth because I used this money to safeguard the national interest of Pakistan. Later I also refused to disclose details about this amount in lower court. But in the High Court I did give the details to an honourable judge (Mr Rashid Aziz) in camera and he released me from the case.

TNS: Why did you not disclose names of Aslam Beg and Hameed Gul?

IA: Hameed Gul had requested me to not to disclose his army chief's name during inquiry or it would give a bad name to the institution of army. I faced a charge of high treason carrying death sentence but never disclosed their names just for the sanctity of the institution. I admit that I met two MNAs Rasheed Bhatti and Malik Arif Awan in Malik Mumtaz's house maximum for 45 minutes and of course we did not discuss everything good about the government. But I never gave them a penny. On the other hand Naseerullah Baber and Masood Sharif managed to gather a lot of MNAs in Nawaz Sharif Stadium from where they were carried to Chaklala Air Base and finally flown to Swat in C130 aircraft. It is on the record that Masood Sharif spent hundreds of millions rupees from IB funds on these MNAs (irrefutable documentary evidence is still available on record of IB), but no case was made against him.

TNS: Isn't it playing safe by putting the blame on certain personalities?

IA: I was in charge of internal security of ISI and whenever there was a case of subversive politics, I was never involved personally; rather the whole institution is involved. Like when my field officer sends me information that some politician is involved in subversive politics, I do send him instructions to follow him and gather information. My officer also briefs me on the situation daily or periodically and finally we find proofs of involvement of that politician in such activity. It always used to be team work. But when some individuals are involved personally you cannot blame the whole institution. For example when IJI was formed, even ISI incharge of Islamabad region was not informed. Only Hameed Gul and Brigadier Imtiaz were informed about this activity. The final decision about the formation of IJI was taken in ISI mess in Islamabad but not a single ISI official knew what was going on between me and Hameed Gul.


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