ISLAMABAD: The government replaced on Wednesday the head of the department that administers the nuclear programme with a serving army general. Lt Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat has been named as the new Director General of Strategic Plans Division (SPD). He replaces retired Lt Gen Khalid Ahmed Kidwai.

Gen Hayat is currently serving as the Corps Commander of Bahawalpur.

This is the most important appointment announced by the government since the change in the army’s command and appointment of the new chairman joint chiefs of staff last month.

The SPD, formed in 2001, serves as the secretariat of the National Command Authority that oversees the research, development, production and deployment of nukes. In this capacity SPD executes policies of the NCA.

Outgoing Gen Kidwai was the founder director general of SPD.

He had joined the directorate as a major general in 1999, even before it (SPD) had been officially notified (in 2001).

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