The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) has denied reports that the new ISI director-general designate Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam was distantly related to Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan. The Times of India had reported that the new ISI chief shared a tenuous link with Shahrukh Khan.
The report had also said that the new ISI chief is the nephew of Indian National Army hero Shah Nawaz Khan, while actor Shahrukh Khan’s late mother Lateef Fatima was Shah Nawaz’s adopted daughter.
Pakistan Army spokesperson Maj-Gen Athar Abbas denied the report of the link with Shahrukh Khan as incorrect. He did not comment on the spymaster being a nephew of Shah Nawaz.
Islam’s father served as a brigadier in the Pakistan Army and Shah Nawaz, who was a major-general in the INA, was his uncle, leading Pakistani defence analyst Ikram Sehgal told Press Trust of India.
Shah Rukh Khan’s late mother Lateef Fatima was the adopted daughter of Shah Nawaz, the PTI had said.
Islam, who was yesterday appointed the new head of the powerful spy agency, comes from a military family and was born in Rawalpindi. It could not immediately be ascertained whether Islam had ever met Shah Nawaz, who died in 1983.
Shah Nawaz served in the British Indian Army during World War II. He was captured in 1942 and then joined the INA.
Shah Nawaz was captured by the British and put on trial with other INA officers in 1946. They were convicted for treason but were discharged due to pressure from the public.
He later joined the Congress party and was elected to the Lok Sabha four times.
Before Islam’s appointment as the ISI chief, some media reports had suggested that Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan’s uncle Maj-Gen Isfandyar Ali Khan Pataudi, a deputy director general in the spy agency, was in the running for the top slot. However, sources told PTI that Pataudi was never seen as a serious contender for the post of ISI chief. (With additional input from NNI)
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2012.