ISLAMABAD: The new chief of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ISI is likely to be named next week amid political turmoil in the coup-prone country, according to a media report.The appointment is expected as current Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam
and five Lieutenant Generals are scheduled to retire from service in the first week of October.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been considering a couple of names for the top intelligence slot, BBC Urdu quoted sources close to the Premier as saying.
The name of the new ISI director general is likely to be announced next week, the report said.
Those being considered for the position are Lahore corps commander Lt Gen Naveed Zaman and President National Defence University Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday, it said.
The names for the ISI chief’s slot circulating in military circles are Maj Gen Nazeer Butt and Maj Gen Rizwan Akhtar.
Army Chief General Raheel Sharif also wants to promote certain military officials from the rank of Major General to that of Lieutenant General, the report said.
These appointments are likely to come before the naming of the new ISI chief so that one of these Lt Generals may be considered for the top intelligence slot, it said.
The appointments are coming at a time when the army has been accused of meddling in politics and although the retirements and subsequent appointments do not appear suspect, they are drawing much interest particularly on account of their timing.
The military officers retiring in October include ISI chief Lt Gen Islam, Mangla corps commander Lt Gen Tariq Khan, Gujranwala corps commander Lt Gen Saleem Nawaz, Peshawar corps commander Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani and Karachi corps commander Lt Gen Sajjad Ghani.
All five positions are of paramount importance in the military but the chief of the ISI is regarded as the army’s most important official after the Army Chief himself. The ISI chief is appointed by the Prime minister, traditionally on the advice of the army chief.
and fiery cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri
have been protesting against Pakistan government since August 14, demanding Sharif’s ouster. Khan wants Sharif’s ouster over alleged rigging in last year’s poll which his party lost, while Qadri wants to bring a revolution in the country.