General Hamid Gul

HAMID GUL (1936 – 2015) Pakistan’s former spy chief

An influential three-star general Hamid Gul served as the head of Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s spy agency, from 1987 to 1989.

The General was deeply involved in his country’s policy towards neighbouring Afghanistan when Soviet troops were withdrawing from that country. He was sincerely sympathetic to the Afghan guerrillas who fought against the Soviets. During his tenure as intelligence chief, though he helped the United States and Saudi Arabia funnel money and weapons to Afghan fighters yet he often said frankly that he was hated by the Americans. He was a staunch critic of the United States.

Never known to mince words, Hamid Gul saw himself as an ideologue and a geo-strategist who believed in pan-Islamism and supported Muslim movements, especially Kashmiri separatists. He once described the heavily militarized boundary in the disputed Kashmir region as “worse than the Berlin Wall.” He never relinquished his public role, remaining closely tied to regional politics.

Journalists, politicians and Islamic leaders visited his house, in a military compound in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, regularly. Despite the plethora of political and terror-related controversies surrounding him, he was never tainted by any charges of financial or moral corruption.

Hamid Gul was born in Sargodha, in Punjab Province. He was commissioned into the army in 1956. He died of brain haemorrhage, in Muree, a hill station near Islamabad.

[Entry prepared by Nauman Khan. For a biographical directory with over 2500 entries, click here]