Retired Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan's feared intelligence service, suffered a brain hemorrhage and died, his family said. Gul was 80.
Gul, who took control of Inter-Services Intelligence (1987-89) during the late years of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, fell ill while on vacation, a family source told Samaa TV. He was taken to Combined Military Hospital in Muree, Pakistan, and pronounced dead on arrival, Business Standard reported Saturday.
“My father’s blood pressure had fallen, and it was not possible for us to move him to a hospital in Islamabad,” his daughter, Uzam, told a news channel Friday, Pakistan Today reported.
Gul was known as the father of the Taliban and for promoting hard-line policies against India, including diverting mujahedeen who fought the Soviets to Kashmir to foment an insurgency. His tenure as head of the ISI coincided with Benazir Bhutto's stint as prime minister.
Gul allegedly conceived a plan to capture Jalalabad from the Afghan army in 1989, but the mujahedeen were defeated and Gul was fired.
Though Gul worked closely with the CIA during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he turned anti-American when Washington failed to deliver on promised aid after the war and became a strong backer of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. He also was angered by U.S. sanctions resulting from Pakistan's secret nuclear program and refused to label Osama bin Laden as a terrorist.
Bhutto accused Gul of being one of four persons behind bombings in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2007, and he was arrested by the military police in Islamabad during a state of emergency declared by then-President Pervez Musharraf. Gul acknowledged his membership in Ummah Tameer-e-Nau, a banned militant group, and his name was included in a list of international terrorists the United States sent to the United Nations. Former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower, described Gul as a political ideologue of terror in a 2008 interview with Newsweek.
Gul was born Nov. 20, 1936, to a family originally from Swat, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, that eventually settled in Sargodha. He was a member of the Yousafzai tribe of Pashtuns.
His body was to be taken to Rawalpindi. Funeral arrangements are pending the arrival of his son, Abdullah, who was in Turkey, the Express Tribune reported.