ISLAMABAD, Sept 21: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Friday made some changes in key army positions, appointing a new head of the Inter Services Intelligence and commander of the Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps from among six major-generals promoted to the rank of lieutenant-generals.
Maj-Gen Nadeem Taj, once regarded as Gen Musharraf’s eyes and ears as head of the Military Intelligence, has been made director-general of the ISI and Maj-Gen Mohsin Kamal, who is little known in non-military circles, has been appointed as Corps Commander of Rawalpindi.
As a brigadier, Gen Nadeem Taj had served as Gen Musharraf’s military secretary. He was later promoted as a two-star general, but he continued to serve in the same capacity when the army chief became the president.
Later, he was appointed head of the Military Intelligence and apart from performing his routine job, he played a key role in overseeing the 2002 general elections and, at a later stage, in initiating a back-channel dialogue with Benazir Bhutto, chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party.
Maj-Gen Kamal served as the commandant of the Staff College, Quetta, and was currently posted as Force Commander of Northern Areas.
The two officers will take up their new assignments in October. Nadeem Taj will take over from Lt-Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani and Mohsin Kamal from Lt-Gen Tariq Majid.
The announcement of the two appointments has highlighted the importance of both Lt-Gen Kiani and Lt-Gen Majid as being front-runners for the two posts of four-star generals which will fall vacant on Oct 8 with the retirement of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Gen Ehsanul Haq, and Vice-Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS), General Ahsan Saleem Hayat.
Some keen followers of defence-related matters are of the view that after the appointment of the new ISI chief and the 10 Corps Commander, there is a strong possibility that names of the new CJCSC and VCOAS will be announced soon.
Besides Maj-Gen Taj and Maj-Gen Kamal, an ISPR announcement says, Maj-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar, Maj-Gen Javed Zia, Maj-Gen Muhammad Asghar and Maj-Gen Jamil Haider have also been promoted to the rank of three-star generals.
Maj-Gen Dar has been appointed director-general of the Anti-Narcotics Force. As a brigadier, he served as deputy chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, commander of the Infantry Division and head of the counter-insurgency operation in Balochistan as inspector-general of the Frontier Constabulary. During his Balochistan assignment, Maj-Gen Dar and his deputy, Brig Saleem Nawaz, were injured when their helicopter came under fire in the Kohlu area.
Maj-Gen Zia, currently Commander of Rangers in Sindh, and Maj-Gen Zamir Haider have been posted to the General Headquarters. Their posts are yet to be announced.
Lt-Gen Asghar has been appointed rector of the National Institute of Science and Technology.