New spymaster: Lt Gen. Zaheerul Islam to succeed Pasha as ISI chief

Published: March 9, 2012
Islam has earlier served as the deputy director general of the ISI. PHOTO: APP

Islam has earlier served as the deputy director general of the ISI. PHOTO: APP

In a final end to the rumours of another service extension for Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, Lt Gen. Zaheerul Islam has been named as his successor.

Islam will take over the position on March 18, the day Pasha is due to retire as chief of the ISI.

Express News had reported earlier on Friday that the appointment of Lt Gen. Islam, who is currently the corps commander of Karachi, may be finalised later today, sources said. Islam is said to have a strong recommendation by President Asif Ali Zardari.

Islam has earlier served as the deputy director general of the ISI as a major general. He was then promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and moved to Karachi. He is said to be a disciplined and focused officer.

Consultations had been ongoing between the prime minister, president and the army chief. Sources said that the prime minister had told his cabinet ministers and advisers that they will announce the decision today.

Lt Gen. Pasha, who retires after having served a one-year extension in tenure granted to him in March 2011, had requested the army chief in December to relieve him of his duties as the ISI chief. Pasha, who has been accused of involvement in some political conspiracies during his tenure, served as the DG of the ISI when al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Abbottabad in May 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (69)

  • Blithe
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:14PM

    Good forewarnings by PML-N to ensure
    that Pasha does not get extention.


  • Ali. Mir
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:34PM

    These are professional appointments and we wish every one all the best and pray that they serve the country well.


  • anybodyagree
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:40PM

    ISI chief should be civilian. Enough with the Army…..???


  • syed Imran
    Mar 9, 2012 - 4:56PM

    Gen Pasha we salute you for your services to Pakistan and wish you all the best


  • Vaqar - UK
    Mar 9, 2012 - 5:27PM


    Totally disagree. It’s Inter Services Intelligence and should be led by a Services officer. Intelligence Bureau is the civilian service.


  • Malik
    Mar 9, 2012 - 5:37PM

    Salute to General Pasha.


  • Sadia
    Mar 9, 2012 - 5:44PM

    @Vaqar – UK:
    well then, the ‘Services’ should not meddle in civilian affairs.


  • Sam
    Mar 9, 2012 - 5:44PM

    there are already civilian spy agencies in Pakistan why only target ISI ?? ISI is a dedicated intelligence arm of military (Inter Services Intelligence). So it can not have civilian chief. Now people may insist that Army should have a civilian chief. that does not make any sense.A military institution is run by military always.


  • Abdur Rahman
    Mar 9, 2012 - 6:31PM

    A real patriot , hats off to Gen Pasha for his
    Outstanding contributions which will be
    remembered in the times to come..


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Mar 9, 2012 - 6:39PM

    isi IS # 1 in the world and will remain # 1 as there is no match to it.

    ISI will remain ISI, not matter who will be the boss.

    Gen. Pasha did well during his tenure.

    He should be given an enthaustic farewell party.


  • Abid
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:05PM

    Thanks Gen Pasha for your great services. You paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country. You will be remembered by all Pakistanis. Thanks again


  • WB
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:15PM

    One less think for Ch Nisar to rant about


  • Mar 9, 2012 - 7:19PM

    Farewell General Shuja Pasha. Wish you all the best. Thank you for serving the country as a true patriot.


  • Mukhtar Ahmed
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:20PM

    We salute Pasha, he is a great man, he and his services will never be forgotten.


  • Umer
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:21PM

    Another Punjabi on a key post. When will someone else be given a chance? Don’t people live in other provinces too? Do they have any rights?


  • Umer
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:22PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:

    isi IS # 1 in the world and will
    remain # 1 as there is no match to it.

    ISI will remain ISI, not matter who
    will be the boss.

    According to ISI.


  • Patriot
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:36PM

    @ Umer . .. you need to see the trend , on average more then 70% youngster from Punjab join Army and young Sindhi’s are more interested in going to Universities or Businesses , The remaining are Pushtun’s with second highest intake. So the majority gives more probability of them bieng there , However for your kind info MUSHARRAF is Muhajir from Khi , Ruled the country for almost a decade ;)


  • Loyal to Pakistan
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:41PM

    I hope he can find the 7000 plus CIA assets in Pakistan who were given visa’s by Hussain Haqqani but I have my doubts.


  • Syed Hussein El-Edroos
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:43PM

    If I am not wrong the “political wing” of ISI was setup by a civilian PM, Mr Bhutto


  • usman786
    Mar 9, 2012 - 7:44PM

    Not iSI shd cont doing what’s good for the Pakistan. Incompetent politicians should never be trusted and some take refuge with indians like Baloch leaders. Pasha was one whom Americans scared and how he handled incidents sent tremors to black sheeps


  • Anwar
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:03PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: No.1 at what? Can you please clarify? Can you mention ONE – just one success that they can be proud of?


  • Umer
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:03PM


    However for your kind info MUSHARRAF
    is Muhajir from Khi , Ruled the
    country for almost a decade ;)

    This example is ridiculous. Let’s make one Punjabi Chief of Army while rest of majority of Army from other provinces and see if Punjab would be happy with this one man representation.

    There needs to be proportionate representation of each province in all key positions including Army and Judiciary, not just one show position once in a while.

    Musharaf did not represent any smaller province, he was a career military man who represented military institution and we all know who dominates this institution.


  • well-wisher
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:08PM

    Hope the new ISI Chief works in the interest of Pakistan and contemplate changes in its policies and protect all communities especially Shias and Baluchis, as the former alleges being targeted by Sectarian outfits backed by intelligence agencies, while the latter by security forces.


  • Umer
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:08PM


    you need to see the trend , on
    average more then 70% youngster from
    Punjab join Army and young Sindhi’s
    are more interested in going to
    Universities or Businesses ,

    Where are so many jobs in Pakistan that people of any province have too many options to have the job they really want? There are plenty of unemployed in Sindh and they would be only too happy to get the somewhat better paid military job if given the chance. Why is there not a quota in Army in proportion to the population of a province?


  • blithe
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:12PM

    I’m getting tired of this needless Punjab bashing.
    There should not be any space for this sort of behaviour , inspite of the magnanimity of Punjabis not take offence.

    Really tiring to see people playing the race politics.


  • Ozymandias
    Mar 9, 2012 - 8:32PM

    You can’t run armies on quota systems my friend. Do you think the USA’s affirmative action applies to their army? Or that India has caste/communal quotas in the army? All there needs to be done is to facilitate recruitment of Sindhis, Balochis etc in the army and remove any barriers to their entry


  • Mar 9, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Yeah civilians like corrupt politicians ….. or do u have any good option


  • Umer
    Mar 9, 2012 - 9:35PM


    Yeah civilians like corrupt
    politicians ….. or do u have any good

    Check ‘Mehran Bank’ scandal. Most money (over 1 billion) went to military. This one example makes it very clear who is more corrupt. Just because it’s not mentioned in mainstream media often, for reason we know, does not mean it’s not true.


  • mukhtar
    Mar 9, 2012 - 9:46PM

    Right man for the right job. Well done President Zardari, for a change merit has prevailed.God bless the new DG ISI, he is taking over at a very crucial time in the history of Pakistan


  • Madiha R.
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:03PM

    Why would an army institution be led by a civilian? Doesn’t make any sense.


  • Alladin
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:04PM

    is he martyred? what do you mean by ultimate sacrifice? He’s just retiring after two extensions


  • Concern1
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:06PM

    The new ISI chief is the best man for the job an outstanding military career ahead of himRecommend

  • Madiha R.
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:14PM

    @Umer: hahaha you are bedazzled by your bias against Pakistan Army.


  • qazi imran
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:14PM

    I don’t care whoever it is,it should be serving the country and the countrymen accroding to the constitution.And it shoudlnt go out of it’s arm’s length and indulge in something wihch is not in the interest of this country or its people..long live pak.


  • KH
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:22PM

    Its not according to ISI, get your facts right.

    Gen Pasha was an extraordinary individual, and PML-N cant even get zardari out, whoes government was on their knees at that time, so no question about ISI.

    Chaudry NISAR ……no comments.z


  • Super pak
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:26PM

    Yes it was because of pmln that pasha did not get an extension. If you anything about pasha he had already decided to retire last year.Recommend

  • Ali
    Mar 9, 2012 - 10:39PM

    @ Umer and @Anwar
    ISI has been voted the #1 spy agency of the world by an American security magazine which is well respected in this sector for their analytical and research contributions. It would be useful for you to do a little search on google without criticizing Pakistan and YOUR Army just for the sake of criticizing.


  • tusif
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:38PM

    dear all we seriously need to be one why we always keep fighting with each other to all who thinks ISI is nothing i will say they are at fault please read new york times and you will start loving ISI cus you will see how foreigners fear ISI and yes it is # 1 spy agency in the world and it is on the records not just bluff, you have a google power so juz google it yourself and @ umer we have to stand together cuz its juz ISI and army the reason y we are secure from enemies and they want to weaken them both thats y they target pplz of pak always and create such conspiracies to make us hate our institutes and to break us. love pak and every citizen of it.


  • Raj - USA
    Mar 9, 2012 - 11:38PM

    Very bold step by Govt and Opposition. It would improve the image of the Govt. in the eyes of the world and they would see democracy taking root in Pakistan. Recommend

  • General Freedom
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:08AM

    The only thing Pakistani generals does not like is to serve and to fight. They are trained to rule.


  • aaaa
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:26AM

    Why should the ISI chief not come from Army? FIA, IB etc are all civilian agencies……


  • Mirza
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:32AM

    Don’t let the door hit you in the back on your way out Pasha! Finally some hope on the horizon.


  • AllahRukha
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:54AM

    ISI chief should be civilian. Enough with the Army…..???

    Yeah. I have three nominations:
    1) Faisal Raza Abidi
    2) Ghulam Ahmad Bilour
    3) Saif ur Rehman


  • Khan
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:57AM

    Why could the number one agency not stop the so called
    Foreign elements involved in killings of so many people, friends Human life comes first and they are just killers kidnappers and thieves but this land of pure has strange values hahaha


  • faraz
    Mar 10, 2012 - 12:59AM

    Despite 7500 terrorist attacks in 10 years, ISI is the best


  • Muhammad Naeem
    Mar 10, 2012 - 1:12AM

    @ Umer

    Shame on u???? u are typical PPP supporter with no brain….. Come out of cheap thinking think big….U people only can play sindh card, infact u have always looted this country thats y still in worst condition….


  • isloo
    Mar 10, 2012 - 1:13AM

    Rest of PAkistan is under Civilian rule and even blind men can see how well it is being governed :P How about Quyyum Jataoi being next ISI Chief ??


  • Hash
    Mar 10, 2012 - 1:57AM

    OBL had been hiding so close to PMA for no one knows how long and apparently millitary and ISI did not know it and now people are totally emotional after reading this news. Unbelievable.


  • Political Wing!
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:08AM

    @Syed Hussein El-Edroos:

    No sir! That is a prevalent but wrong idea, ISI charter was amended to include an explicit political role by Ayub Khan who was not a civilian.

    And about time we have a civilian chief for ISI. If RAW, MI6 and CIA can have them surely we can.


  • hey
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:14AM

    i am sindhi but musharaf was a mohajr to the bone. why else would he support MQM so much and vice versa.


  • hey
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:15AM

    what magzine? can you name it?


  • Umer
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:18AM


    ISI chief should be civilian. Enough
    with the Army…..???

    Yeah. I have three nominations: 1)
    Faisal Raza Abidi 2) Ghulam Ahmad
    Bilour 3) Saif ur Rehman

    In that case Pasha is the best who couldn’t do one thing right in his tenure.


  • MarkH
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:19AM

    Hm. Mr. Islam. Does that mean if anyone talks bad about him it’ll be blasphemy? Crafty.


  • MarkH
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:21AM

    Yeah. Google it. Just ignore all the links that mention them being found out. In other words, actually quite terrible at the job.


  • Adam Zogby
    Mar 10, 2012 - 2:23AM

    General ISLAM the new ISI Spy Chief. :)


  • Syed Hamid Ahmed
    Mar 10, 2012 - 3:27AM

    Top intelligence agencies in the world are run by civilians, obeys the laws of country and server the country under political leadership, they are professionals. They don’t kidnap there own people and torture and kill them, neither they choose who will rule the country. The self proclaimed #1 intelligence agency did not knew where OBL was for so many years, did not knew what CIA was doing, have done nothing to prevent falling Balouch nationalist leaders into the hand of foreign and hostile intelligence agencies like RAW.
    I hope new chief bring the true professionalism into ISI, and discourage exuberance and self righteousness from the mindset of some ISI leaders.
    Off course ISI is a valuable asset of our nation and have accomplished a lot, bur we shell not forget that our nation has invested a lot into ISI and perhaps its time to stop interfering with interests of people of Pakistan in name of national security, like manipulating elections, political leaders and media personalities.
    There will be a day when this nation will respect and follow the law and leaders will look after the interest of country not their personal egos.


  • saleem
    Mar 10, 2012 - 3:28AM

    As long as the civil servants and military servants serve and respect the people and Govt of Pakistan does not matter who heads the depts or sections of the institutions responsible and under the Govt of Pakistan ie the legislature executive and judiciary.


  • Akhtar
    Mar 10, 2012 - 5:14AM

    Good Riddance of Pasha. He was a failure & his failure are too many to list. He was busy playing politics with memo gate while the nations pride was being hammered. Instead of serving the country, he tried to rule by creating Memo Gate & ultimately got caught in his own creation.
    Pasha sacrificed many Paki’s to stay in Power like Dr.Aafia. A soldier sacrifices his life, but in Pakistan, they sacrifice innocents like us.


  • Gahratmand
    Mar 10, 2012 - 5:23AM

    Equivalents –
    ISI = CIA
    IB = FBI
    MI = DIA


  • Freeman
    Mar 10, 2012 - 6:05AM

    @Umer: Please stop talking like this. From where President of Pakistan belong??? He is from Sindh province. One of th top post in Pakistan have form Sindh Province. Its fine.

    This appoinment is purely on merit.


  • alicia
    Mar 10, 2012 - 6:59AM

    Can somebody tell me what exactly has General pasha done for the country?


  • farman ali
    Mar 10, 2012 - 8:19AM

    it is good to have well groomed professionals to serve the country. ithink mr.Pasha did well for our beloved of luck sir Pasha .


  • Bhuley Shah
    Mar 10, 2012 - 1:48PM

    Bilour is talanted cousin and fit to become spychief.


  • Ahmad
    Mar 10, 2012 - 5:02PM

    for everybody who thinks a civilian head is a bad idea, what miracles did Pasha perform? Missed/let OBL stay in Abbotabad for 5 years at least, GHQ, PNS Mehran was attacked, soldiers continue to die in FATA because the ISI thinks it can fool everybody into thinking that it has no relations with the assorted factions of the Taliban, TTP et al., and lets not forget his part in the sham that was memogate. Perhaps if he had ignored the politics and stuck to his job, his tenure would not be remembered as the unqualified disaster it actually was, and he would not be painted as the incompetent man he turned out to be. And for going to London to investigate his own constitutional boss, he should be charged and punished under article 6 anyways. Good riddance.


  • Khuldun
    Mar 10, 2012 - 11:26PM

    Can’t think of any good reason why some people are hailing this utter shameful failure of an intelligence agent as a true patriot and a great army man? Isnt in his era we have witnessed the most degrading incidents in our history? Killing and kidnapping our own countrymen in not a measure of success!


  • Farhan syed
    Mar 10, 2012 - 11:30PM

    what services..he was an incompetent General. During his tenure, Bin Laden lived freely in the land of pure and foreign agents successfully found him. he should have been sacked


  • Adil
    Mar 11, 2012 - 3:19AM

    There’s no Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi or Pathan. We’re all Pakistanis. Put an end to all this. Understood? Good! Now, continue :)


  • Abdul basit
    Mar 11, 2012 - 10:30AM

    Then there must be imposed conditioned on the politicians for Tow major post ( President ship , Prime Minister ) . Eligibility should be two times in life. No more Need for Nawaz , Gilani , or any EX – PM, And Presidents


  • Abdul basit
    Mar 11, 2012 - 10:34AM

    Salute You Pasha , And Allah bless u .

More in Pakistan