Pakistan’s top spy agency gets new chief
The post of ISI chief is considered one of the most important in the Pakistan Army. (Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images)
IN a surprise military shake-up, the Pakistan Army has announced that the powerful spy agency ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed has been appointed as Peshawar Corps commander – a crucial position, given the Taliban’s takeover of neighbouring Afghanistan.
Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum was appointed as the new director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in place of Lt Gen Hameed, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, said on Wednesday (6).
The ISI chief is appointed by the prime minister but as part of a tradition, he executes this power in consultation with the Pakistan Army chief.
The post of ISI chief is considered one of the most important in the Pakistan Army, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 73 plus years of existence and has wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Lt Gen Anjum, who belongs to the Punjab Regiment of the Pakistan Army, has served as Karachi Corps Commander as well as the commandant of Command and Staff College Quetta.
He is considered as a battle-hardened soldier who commanded the Frontier Corps Balochistan as its inspector general and oversaw many operations against terrorists.
His predecessor Lt Gen Hameed from the Baloch Regiment was appointed as the head of the spy agency on June 16, 2019. He had previously served in the ISI as the head of internal security.
Lt Gen Hameed, who is considered close to Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, had served in the ISI for two-and-a-half years before being promoted to the rank of Lt General. He was appointed as the ISI head at a crucial time due to several external and internal security challenges.
He dashed to Kabul and oversaw the crucial changes in Afghanistan where the Taliban took control in mid-August, about 20 years after they were removed from power in 2001 following a US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
When the incumbent Pakistan Army chief Gen Bajwa completes his three-year extension in November 2022, Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt Gen Azhar Abbas, Lt Gen Nauman Mahmood and Lt Gen Hameed will be among the senior-most generals.
The Army, in an official statement, also announced two more senior-level postings.
Lt Gen Mohammad Amir was posted as Gujranwala Corps commander, a major offensive formation of the Pakistan Army, while Lt Gen Asim Munir was appointed as the Quartermaster General (QMG) of the Army, the statement said.