South Asia

Pakistan Appoints New ISI Chief

Lt General Bajwa. Credit: Dawn News

Lt General Bajwa. Credit: Dawn News

Islamabad: Lt General Naveed Mukhtar has been appointed chief of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ISI as part of the first major reshuffle in the military’s top brass after new army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa took over the reins last month.

Bajwa, who took over from General Raheel Sharif two weeks ago, appointed Mukhtar as director-general of the ISI, replacing Lt General Rizwan Akhtar, the army said in a statement.

Akhtar, who was at the centre of a controversy following a Dawn newspaper report which said that the Nawaz Sharif government had told the army to either act against terrorists or the country would face international isolation, has been appointed president of the National Defence University (NDU).

The new ISI chief possesses a vast experience in the field of intelligence and has headed the counter-terrorism wing of the spy agency in Islamabad. He was commissioned in the Armoured Corps regiment in 1983.

A graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, National Defence University, Islamabad, and War Course USA, Mukhtar has also commanded a Mechanised Division.

As part of other major changes in the army’s top brass, according to the statement, newly-promoted Lt General Bilal Akbar has been appointed chief of general staff while Lt General Nazir Butt – presently president of the NDU – has been appointed Corps Commander Peshawar (11 Corps), replacing Lt Heneral Hidayat-ur Rehman.

Rehman has been appointed Inspector-General Training and Evaluation at General Headquarters (GHQ).

The appointments are being seen as an effort by Qamar Javed Bajwa to put in place a ‘new team’ after taking charge as the 16th chief of army staff.

A career infantry officer belonging to the Baloch Regiment, Bajwa is said to have extensive experience of handling PoK affairs and northern areas of Pakistan.

Among other changes he undertook yesterday, Lt General Asim Salim Bajwa, presently heading the army’s media wing, has been appointed inspector-general arms at the GHQ.

Newly-promoted Lt General Hamayun Aziz has been appointed inspector-general communications and IT at the GHQ, while Lt General Qazi Ikram has been appointed chief of logistic staff.

Lt General Sher Afgun has been posted as 31 Corps commander, which is based in Bahawalpur near the Indian border, while newly-promoted Lt General Muhammad Afzal will continue as DG FWO and Lt General Naeem Ashraf has been appointed chairman heavy industries taxila.

The new army chief has not announced the names of incoming heads of inter-services public relations and rangers in Sindh.

Officials said he might consult the political leadership before making the “politically sensitive appointments”.

(PTI)