General Ziauddin Khawaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, is a four-star general of the Pakistan Army and a career operations and infantry formations commander, head of intelligence and engineering officer. He was one of the most prominent and successful commanders in Pakistan Army and was described as a "genius general" by all three of the former army chiefs (General Beg, General Kakar and General Karamat).
Ziauddin has served as Director-General of Pakistan's premier intelligence agency ISI. He was nominated for the post of Pakistan Army chief on Oct 12, 1999 by then-Prime minister Nawaz Sharif after the dismissal of General Pervez Musharraf, who had begun a coup against the government. The coup went ahead regardless of this appointment as Ziauddin told his supporters not to resist the move as it would cause dangerous in-fighting amongst the army. Both Sharif and Ziauddin were arrested by the coup-makers and taken to different locations. Ziauddin was kept in solitary confinement for two years, and was subject to three army investigations which aimed to find some element of wrong-doing on his part. Musharraf decided to use a 'scouts penalty' – a discretionary punishment not requiring a crime, to dismiss General Ziauddin from service.
Ziauddin was commissioned in Pakistan Army in the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers, a technical combat arm in October 1964 in the 30th PMA Long Course. General Ziauddin received his B.Eng. in civil engineering in 1968.
Kamran Khan of The News wrote disparagingly about Ziauddin in a news column called "the news/national intelligence unit (NIU)". General Rashid Queraishi was quoted as saying "General Ziauddin was one of the best generals in our army's history, so now we have to change the history". Subsequently, Kamran Khan and others claimed that all of General Ziauddin's accomplishments were because of Nawaz Sharif.[who?]
Ziauddin was promoted to Lieutenant-General on February 25, 1996 and made the Corps Commander of 30 Corps at Gujranwala by General Jehangir Karamat, who was then COAS. After serving as the Corps Commander, Ziauddin was posted as the Adjutant General (AG) of the army, a Principal Staff Officer (PSO) position where he was serving at the time of the promotion of General Musharraf to the Army chief in October 1998. When Lieutenant Generals Ali Kuli Khan Khattak and Khalid Nawaz were superseded by General Musharraf, General Ziauddin moved to second slot in the seniority list of the army, second only to Musharraf himself. He was subsequently assigned to head the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, after replacing Lieutenant-general Naseem Rana who was posted as Master-General Ordnance. (MGO). He was also one of the senior most generals ever to occupy the post of Intelligence Chief (DG ISI) and is credited with major revamping and evolution of the agency and its operations.