Some know him as ISI’s ex-chief, some as a tank commander during 1965’s war and some as a world class strategist. Some people remember him as a great spymaster who instilled fear of Pakistan in India, some as a staunch supporter of Kashmir and Afghanistan’s cause and some recall this man as one of the best army Generals. But most of the people in Pakistan and abroad respect him for his boundless patriotism, righteousness, determination, stalwartness and devotion to Islam. The legacy of General Hamid Gul is such that his name will remain alive forever.
PKKH (Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz) is a Pakistani alternative policy institute which also provides online news service. It mainly works towards creating awareness and highlights the various global and regional security threats faced by Pakistan. At the time of its creation some members of this entity went to different celebrated politicians, personalities and national figures for support and advice. Hamid Gul not only liked the idea of PKKH but readily agreed to be one of its core advisors. He was always very enthusiastic to work with the youth and support constructive initiatives like this. PKKH owes a lot to this great man.
Hamid Gul was born in Sargodha on Nov 20, 1936. He joined the army in 1954 and was commissioned in the Pakistan Army in October 1956 with the 18th PMA Long Course in the 19th Lancers regiment of the Armoured Corps. He was a tank commander at the Chawinda front during the 1965 war with India. For his phenomenal performance in the war, he was awarded Sitara-i-Jurat.
During 1968-69, he attended the Command and Staff College, Quetta. When Gen Zia was the general officer commanding, 1st Armoured Division and Commander, II Corps at Multan (1972-76), Hamid Sahab directly served under him as a battalion commander. He was promoted to brigadier in 1978 and steadily rose to be the commander of the 1st Armoured Division, Multan in 1980.
He was then sent to the General Headquarters as the director general of military intelligence under Gen Zia, who then nominated him to be the ISI chief, succeeding Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman in March 1987.He was later replaced as the ISI commander by the then premier Benazir Bhutto in May 1989 and was transferred as the commander, II Corps in Multan. In this capacity, he conducted the Zarb-e-Momin military exercise in November-December 1989.He retired from his services in 1992. He was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the Sitara-e-Basalat and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) for his meritorious services.
His retirement did not prevent Gul Sahab from working for his beloved country and he continued serving Pakistan with utter zeal. He was such a high-spirited and energetic man that even years after his leave from the army, in a conference, he openly declared that he was neither retired nor tired. He told that while joining Pak Army he took an oath to protect his country, though he was done with his services but his oath still stood. In an interview, while clarifying his stance on his retirement he quoted Iqbal’s verse:
Phir terey haseenon ko zaroorat hai hina ki
Baki hai abhi rang merey khoon-e- jigar mai
He was a visionary man with undying love for his country. When asked about the creation of Pakistan and its persisting problems in an interview, he told that Pakistan is not at all an ordinary country, it is a phenomenon and an unfinished revolution. Half of the revolution was completed when it was formed and half which is the establishment of an egalitarian system according to the teachings of Islam is yet to be achieved.
He made it very clear that if we want to free Pakistan of its existing problems, the structure of constitution needs to be changed and be shaped according to the way proposed in the Objective Resolution, passed in 1949. This Objective Resolution was wrongly interpreted which resulted into this disastrous constitution.
His dauntlessness was known to all. He condemned the way the Supreme Court functioned because according to him, it did not follow the points of Objective Resolution which was formed on the basis of Quran’s teachings. He was of the view that the courts have epically failed to provide justice and if Pakistan wants to progress, this has to change. These courts need to change their system and work in accordance with Islamic teachings. Among all the great accomplishments of Mughals, the formation of law courts according to the Sharia was the best one.
When ARY’s interviewer asked him about the failure of all political parties, he replied that Pakistan doesn’t even need one. He gave the example of China and explained that there is no political party in China, they make decisions through a council. Though China got independence two years after Pakistan but has progressed immaculately since its creation.
Kashmir was dear to this man. When he was asked whether Kashmir’s cause had been buried, he got angry and ardently answered that there is no one born on this planet earth who possesses the strength to bury Kashmir. Its cause is still very much alive even after six decades.
At some places Gen Hamid has been called the butcher of Afghans. These fools don’t know that he helped and trained Afghan forces to fight against Soviets. Some people have accused him of being Taliban’s leader. The thing is that, in the beginning when Taliban was formed and induced the proper Islamic System, they were righteous people and so Gen Gul supported them then. But when these people deviated from the path of Islam and when gradually thing got more clear, he distanced himself from Taliban and denounced their actions.
Some have even blamed him for nurturing terrorist organizations. He, by no means supported militancy. He was a true Islamic ideologue who was in the favour of an Islamic System. What these people fail to understand is that these extremist militant organizations are not in accordance with the teachings of Islam. Peace and equality is in the very roots of Islam.
His services for this country came to an end with his demise. He met his maker on Saturday 15th August 2015. The cause of his death was brain hemorrhage. He has succeeded in acquiring a place in history. Pak Army and Pakistan will always salute him for his services. Now, it is our duty to carry on his legacy by implementing his teachings and by fighting for the causes which he stood for.