In a major reshuffle that also includes some key appointments, the Pakistan Army on Wednesday named Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the new head of the country’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Munir was among the six major generals who were recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. According to official sources, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved appointment of Gen Munir to the post of the ISI director general on the recommendation of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
However, the formal announcement made by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), suggested that the PM merely approved name of the new ISI director general as sent by the army chief.
Technically, it is prerogative of the prime minister to appoint the spy chief but this crucial appointment is always done with the consent of the army chief. The new DG ISI will formally take over on October 26 a day after the incumbent ISI chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar retires.
The incoming ISI chief has also served as the Military Intelligence (MI) director general, something that played a part in his latest appointment. Post of the ISI chief is considered to be the most powerful slot after that of the army chief.
The ISPR on Wednesday also announced other key appointments in the army.
According to the ISPR, Lt Gen Azhar Saleh Abbasi was appointed as chief of logistics staff at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki was appointed as corps commander Mangla, Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar as corps commander Peshawar, Lt Gen Abdul Aziz as the GHQ military secretary, Lt Gen Muhammad Adnan as vice chief of general staff and Lt Gen Waseem Ashraf as inspector general arms.
These changes were due since five lieutenant generals will retire this month. These include the current ISI chief Lt Gen Mukhtar, 11 Corps (Peshawar) Commander Lt Gen Nazir Butt, Commander of Army Strategic Force Command Lt Gen Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain, Military Secretary at the GHQ Lt Gen Ghayur Mahmood and Training and Evaluation Inspector General Lt Gen Hidayatur Rehman.