Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to appoint Lt Cdr (retd) Ihsan Ghani as the acting national coordinator of the country’s top counterterrorism body after receiving a recommendation from Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, informed officials in the interior ministry told The Express Tribune.
They said Nisar wanted an energetic man at the helm to review how to execute the National Action Plan (NAP) in a more skilful manner, adding that Ghani was the best pick.
The PM’s Office has written to the Establishment Division to issue the notification of Ghani’s appointment. The announcement is likely to be made on Friday (today) or the next business day (Monday).
As the new chief of the National Counterterrorism Authority (Nacta), Ghani will continue executing the present government policies, including how to swiftly implement the NAP.
Ghani will replace Saud Aziz, who was running Nacta’s affairs in addition to being the director general of the National Crisis Management Cell after Hamid Ali Khan resigned from the post, citing poor health as one of the reasons.
Various senior officials had been manoeuvring for this important post for weeks, but Ghani, according to the officials, took precedence because of his rich experience of curbing militancy and extremism.
Accepting the challenging job, he will most likely start working next week. “I have a lot to do after taking over my new assignment,” he told The Express Tribune.
He will start off as the acting Nacta chief and then take permanent position after he is promoted to grade 22 in the coming months, said an interior official.
The government appoints the Nacta chief for a three-year tenure. “The national coordinator shall be a professional of known integrity and competence in BPS-22 or equivalent and may be appointed in rotation from bureaucracy or Police Service of Pakistan,” reads the Nacta Act 2013.
Ghani joined the police service in 1989 and is currently serving as the DG of the National Police Bureau, the premier institution for steering police reform efforts in the country.
He has rich experience of fighting militancy in volatile areas, particularly the tribal belt. His younger brother Inam Ghani also deals with high-profile corruption cases as a senior officer in the Federal Investigation Agency.
Ihsan Ghani served as the chief of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police after the government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf took up the reins of the province.
He also worked for the Intelligence Bureau and completed many training courses both abroad and within the country. He served as the chief security officer of the then premier Benazir Bhutto from 1994 to 1997.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2015.