The Punjab government has appointed a Lieutenant General – who gained notoriety for violating the Army’s discipline by towing political line of action – as Chairman Chief Minister’s Inspection Team.
Lieutenant General Ziauddin Butt, who has been appointed as Chairman CMIT on contract, is a retired Pakistan Army engineer officer and the ex-Director General Inter-Services Intelligence. He was later nominated as Chief of the Army Staff in 1999 by then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after dismissing General Pervez Musharraf. The move backfired as Nawaz Sharif government was removed by the military, and Gen Ziauddin sacked and subsequently arrested, and Court-martial for being part of the ‘conspiracy’.
In 1964, Mr Butt was commissioned in Pakistan Army’s Corps of Engineers – a non-fighting arm. It was part of the reason that Army high command sided with Musharraf in ousting Ziauddin as the Army chief, as since 1947 the slot of the COAS had always belonged to the fighting arm (infantry, armoured corps or artillery). It has been maintained by the concerned quarters that he was promoted to Lieutenant General on February 25, 1996 and made the commander of Corps at Gujranwalla on personal request to General Jehangir Karamat by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. After serving as the Corps Commander, Gen Ziauddin was posted as the Adjutant General (AG), where he was serving at the time of promotion of General Musharraf to the Army chief in October 1998. When Lt Generals Ali Kuli Khan and Khalid Nawaz were superseded by Musharraf, Ziauddin moved to number two slot in the seniority list of Lt Gens. He was subsequently assigned to head the ISI by PM Nawaz Sharif, after replacing Lt Gen Naseem Rana.
A year after taking over ISI, Ziauddin was nominated by Sharif to head the Army, while Musharraf was on a foreign trip to Sri Lanka. The army refused to accept this decision, and overthrew Sharif's government in the subsequent coup d'état. Ziauddin was subsequently retired and was placed under house arrest with all the post-retirement privileges taken away. He was found guilty of conspiring against his Chief General Pervez Musharraf. However he still reserved the right to appeal against the decision of the previous authority.
After February 8, 2008 polls, in April the same year PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif reportedly had conveyed a message to Mr Butt and that he would be ‘accommodated at an opportune time’. The same message was communicated to former Inspector General of Police Rana Maqbool Ahmed as well. Last year Rana Maqbool, who had remained an Officer on Special Duty since 1999 when Musharraf took over the government, has been already appointed as Secretary Public Prosecution Department (Punjab) on contract by the PML-N.
In 2009, an attempt to accommodate Mr Butt as Chairman Punjab Public Service Commission was shot down during the initial stages. “Since it is a constitutional post, and the Governor has a role to play, the Punjab government deemed it wise not to act in this regard,” opined an officer, while adding that for the present appointment, pay, perks and privileges are yet to be notified for the General.
Like the General, last year as well, Rana Maqbool was also considered for appointment as Ombudsman Punjab – also a constitutional post – but was later appointed as Secretary Public Prosecution Department. “Seeing these examples of the General and the IGP, and violation of the Punjab government’s own policy of not re-employing the retired, these are hugely blatant violations of the government’s stance taken after April 10, 2008 when hundreds of retired having got reappointed were terminated from all the departments,” observed the officer.