ISLAMABAD: After serving for 38 years, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen (retd) Ahmad Shuja Pasha’s career came to an end with his official retirement on Sunday.
A look back at the spy chief’s involvement in the military’s espionage outfit shows a chequered history. Pasha was appointed DG ISI in 2008, and received two extensions during his tenure.
It wasn’t easy from the get-go, however – or through the rest of his time occupying the all-important post. Pasha was made DG ISI when the newly-elected civilian government of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani tried, for two months, to place the premier spy agency under the control of the interior ministry.
Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, however, would have none of it, according to military sources. Kayani intervened and confidentially advised the prime minister to appoint Pasha as the ISI chief. His prior posting included planning operations against al Qaeda militants and the Taliban in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Pasha’s claim to fame in the international arena came with the May 2 raid on the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad – he remained in the spotlight in 2011 after meeting key witness in the memo scandal, Mansoor Ijaz, in London. This, along with his submission of an affidavit in court over the memo intrigue, irked the civilian government and heightened civil-military tensions.
Pasha’s military career started in 1974, when he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Frontier Force Regiment.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2012.