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Nargis Sethi. — Photo by PPI

ISLAMABAD, July 27: The government appointed on Friday Lt-Gen (retd) Asif Yasin Malik as new defence secretary in place of Nargis Sethi who had been given the additional charge of defence ministry’s top bureaucrat in January this year.

Ms Sethi was assigned the job after the dismissal of Lt-Gen (retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi at the peak of a civil-military standoff over the infamous memogate affair.

Gen Asif Malik retired from active service last December as commander of the Peshawar-based 11 Corps. While commanding the corps, he oversaw counter-insurgency operations in tribal areas.

The new defence secretary, who had attended training courses in the US, will hit the ground running with signing next week a bilateral MoU with the US on transit of cargo.

The MoU was approved by the federal cabinet this week.

Gen Malik’s colleagues describe him as a soldier to the core and a no-nonsense man.

In another important appointment announced by the government on Friday, Information Group Officer Shafqat Jalil was made press secretary to the prime minister. He replaces Akram Shaheedi who was working on contract.

Comments (61) Closed

Abdul Jam Jul 28, 2012 09:19am
Are you suggesting Hillary Clinton competent!!!
shafiqrao Jul 29, 2012 12:59am
Army is dealing with the defense matter since beginning and should these matters be in hands of the most culprit politicians, the country would be in a ditch. Even for the defense secretary, the post is just a formality because COAS will anyhow do the plugs.
Dr Nusrat Cheema Jul 28, 2012 06:53am
This is sexist statement , being incompetent has no relationship with sex of person .Is Hiliary Cliniton a man ? Whole of this status quo ( PPP, PML N , PML Q, ANP, MQM ) have been in power for decades , all are incompetent , corrupt and looters
Haji Ashfaq Jul 28, 2012 08:53am
More than agree.
shaukat ali chughtai Jul 30, 2012 12:33pm
Under the prevalent circumstances, the appointment of Defence Secretary, amilitary person is a good move. Incompetent ministers who cannot read the office notes and cannot right four lines english cannot be given such responsibilities. Bureaucracy must be strengthened but current situation demands that decision.
space123 Jul 29, 2012 04:54am
r u an indian or r u an american mouthpiece ? because no one who has the right intentions for Pakistan will blindly say the military should leave these looter of ppp to loot the country blindly forever. In either case its pakistans internal issue, we dont need foreign mouthpieces advice.
NASAH (USA) Jul 29, 2012 12:44pm
I don't know about the Army Chief -- that does look like absurd -- but making Ms. Sethi Corp Commander 111th Infantry Brigade also called Coup Brigade -- responsible for the 'safety' of the President and the Prime minister -- may be the safest bet against a judicial coup. By the way if General Asif can be a secretary -- secretary Sethi can be a corp commander. Can't she?
NASAH (USA) Jul 28, 2012 12:13pm
Good to know that the Defense Ministry is under a Corp Commander -- the civilians had no business dealing with the Defense to begin with and then the ultimate insult - not even an army woman - a civilian woman for secretary of defense! Is this another Zardari's coalition - now no judiciary can touch the government?
Abdul Jam Jul 28, 2012 09:07am
Why can't military just do what they are supposed to do and leave the other matters to those who know how do deal with them best of let the best people get the job whether a man or a woman. Military of Pakistan is being very irritating, annoying, and detesable. I dont mind claling them cowards given their recent performance. They should know therir limits or else people power will oust them.
Cyrus Howell Jul 29, 2012 06:29pm
Is there any doubt the people of Pakistan have to take their government back?
Haji Ashfaq Jul 28, 2012 08:56am
The one who had appointed 'her' is back to pavellion , disqualified- now looking after his 'gaddi' being shared by his ......sons.
Dr Imran Ahmed Jul 29, 2012 09:55am
Sarcasm does not work here, your comments are likely to be taken literally. Agree with your sentiments.
Aamir, San Diego USA Jul 28, 2012 02:24pm
There is not doubt that she is an extremely competent diplomat. You have to look at her record. Not her gender.
Rafiq Jul 28, 2012 06:28pm
interesting. was trained in US.
Garib Manus Jul 29, 2012 04:07pm
Dear Sir, What did India Gandhi do to Pak?
Dr Imran Ahmed Jul 28, 2012 06:26pm
The retired general has no background for a civil service post, if age allows him to be re-employed perhaps it would be more appropriate to post him as a Section Officer?
Capt Khan Jul 28, 2012 02:43pm
Ms Sethi has been a wonderful cabinet seceretary and she would continue to do so. Traditionally in most of the world defence seceretaries are former military officers. Thanks to Ms Sethi for excellent additional work. Good luck General Asif.
Aziz Jul 28, 2012 02:39pm
@Rida . Correct An externally inspired change indeed! It proves the dictum that the ' un-cooperative and unpredictable civilians' are a headache for the minders rather than a straight command and control structure.
Malik Khalfan Jul 28, 2012 02:39pm
Spot on ! they spend all their lives enjoying the perks and facilities the Khaki has to offer, retire with tons of money and plots and then they want to pull strings to secure a berth in civil bureaucracy. Why cant they just call it a day, enjoy their retirement and let some real competent and qualified civilian to handle the job.
Rida Jul 28, 2012 10:09am
I remember a statement attributed to Nargis Sethi in recent past where she informed the press that COAS would be visiting US and that 'Civilian' bureaucracy would be responsible for signing the MoU with the US. I think this is the background behind her removal.
khan Jul 29, 2012 04:38pm
Ha ha ha. Did you ever think what back ground do our leaders have?
Hamid Abbasi Jul 28, 2012 10:59am
Regardless of the gender,we should have a person who knows the job very well and is familiar with the background.May be Ms.Sethi was not fully aware of the defence requirements and needs.Shuffling of personnel is a normal process,why should it be treated as bone of contention. Hamid Abbasi
Essjay Jul 28, 2012 10:42am
No foreign power, neither the US nor China, can save Pakistan from its own military.
akhter husain Jul 29, 2012 07:10am
Why is this hue and cry over appointment of a general as secretary defense Does he not know about the job he was trained for all along his long career to become the General?I think we should let the people do their and trust their competence.
Zaheer Jul 29, 2012 08:38am
The Army has been in power for decades...and has destroyed the political and the social fabric of our country..Please avoid false information....
waheed Jul 29, 2012 08:12am
Army personel have no business in Government. Please get the serving generals to do their job of protecting borders and the retired Army should just retire and should never be given jobs in Government as secrataries or as ambassadors. Please let Army be Army with no jobs in civilian admin
Ghulam Abbas Rehan Jul 29, 2012 07:32am
its right selection of of suitable person at a suitable time Sethi must now go her original job. Defense is sensitive matter that genaral can perform well best wishes for general ,but critic were and are already there.
Muhammad Ashfaq Jul 28, 2012 06:16pm
civilians will get powers only when they are capable, honest and sincere with their profession of politics - if they are not, other powers will keep on creating troubles for them
U M Jul 29, 2012 10:15am
R e l a x . . . !
asfi Jul 29, 2012 10:14am
Whats that clean record please. Do not be generic, give statistics. Dealing with incompetent leaders like Zardari, Karzai and Kings does not make one qualify to be competent.
Dr Imran Ahmed Jul 28, 2012 06:18pm
If the new appointee was retired from the army as presumably he is too old to carry on a responsible military job how come he gets a double promotion to an important Federal Secretary post?
Taj Ali Jul 28, 2012 08:07am
This is not about men or women, you must have a right person for the job.
noornooraala Jul 28, 2012 06:10am
well, What Ms is doing in the matters of being a DEFENCE sect. in Islamabad? This is men's job to understand about the defence.
m furqan Jul 29, 2012 04:47pm
For all who are pro man-from-army must know that such person must surrender first to the idea of democracy and the people's rule through obedience to civil government and not to their past bosses in the Army. That was the reason Lodhi was fired. Mr Asif Malik must remember his bosses are the Public Leaders in the offices of executive and parliament and definitely not the current Generals. Any collaborations or back door channels like before shall not be tolerated by the public office. He was hired and can be fired by the Prime Minister at any time. Army shall not have any right to stop that. In the end, I Hope his posting was not because of any back door deal between the Govt and Army, if that's true the Govt has shot itself in the foot.
asma tanoli Jul 28, 2012 02:54pm
being a defence secretary entitles the person to another plot in any defence society. So Nargis Sethi has come out well.
Asad Jul 28, 2012 03:03pm
If your politicians were so good than Pakistan wont be standing where it is standing now. Military is doing more than its capacity and much better than politicians and this is a post of soldier not a civilian.
Syed Hamid Ahmed Jul 28, 2012 04:33pm
PPP never been in power for decades, quit miss representing.
khan Jul 28, 2012 04:40pm
Because the politician are very well known oxymorons.
khan Jul 28, 2012 04:42pm
Can't you see the politicians are incompetent of the highest degree.
NASAH (USA) Jul 28, 2012 04:56pm
Is this a mini coup?
ccfdsf dfg Jul 28, 2012 05:11pm
I agree
Bakhtawer Bilal Jul 28, 2012 06:46pm
I totally agree. If military has to do everything with anything that has a word "defense" or "foreign" then why don't they simply make sitting generals as defense minister and minister of foreign affairs. Oh I forgot, they are not that brave to do the things up front.
Salman Jul 28, 2012 08:09pm
Civilians are incompetent and corrupt.
desi Jul 28, 2012 08:43pm
Not usually,not necessarily but it helps if they have a military back ground or if you are or ever were a part of the military or defense committee.
Sohaib YAHIA Jul 29, 2012 02:35pm
It is impossible to keep the army of our pure land away from meddling into affairs that are neither their forte nor, generally speaking, meant for them elsewhere in a civilized democratic country. On top, when they make a mess of it, they very conveniently shift the blame on the people representatives. This is the enigma our country has been facing since its birth and has been the root cause of the state of affairs we find ourselves in today.
Ijaz Mir Jul 28, 2012 10:10pm
Defence secretary is a very important position and the person in charge must have a military back ground regarding defence of Pakistan. Defence minster is a political post .any one from ruling party can be defence minster. But my fears are when this new appointee will be dismissed by the prime minster.. It happened once and it will happen again.
Alam Jul 28, 2012 10:23pm
I agree with the move. Defense matters should be handled by defense experts.
bahadur ali Jul 28, 2012 10:31pm
A right man has been chosen for a right job ,good an timely decision.
Dr Imran Ahmed Jul 28, 2012 10:44pm
The retired general has no background for a civil service post, if age allows him to be re-employed perhaps it would be more appropriate to post him as a Section Officer, the present posting appears as absurd as posting Ms Sethi as Army Chief?
r.s.soni Jul 29, 2012 02:14pm
sir, i am very happy a crore commander is appointed as defence secretary, in Pakistan opinion is polarised military v/s civilian. i want to mention for the benefit of both that both civilian politicians and miltary top brass have equal unquenchable thrust for money. please don't fight. over this issue. you are at the receiving end
Hameed Jul 28, 2012 05:28pm
I am surprised to see people who are so eager to put their comments without knowing the job details, Its a defense secretary job that needs years of defense related education and on ground experience. People who think Army is coward, why don't they join Aman Laskars and go defend your country. its easier to make a comment than to serve a country in true spirit. Don't vote if you don't like above mentioned political party, we don't need commentators, we have enough, we need people in action with aim and ambition.
Sandip Jul 29, 2012 03:04am
Does most of the world mean Pakistan for you? Since other than Pakistan, I don't know of any other country where defence sec is from military.
r.s.soni Jul 29, 2012 02:02pm
yes, very much. what is the doubt?
zulfi Jul 29, 2012 05:50am
agreed. very true. any government is better than zardari govt. at least people have some relief in other governments.
Naumaan Jul 29, 2012 05:54am
Dear Dr., if he doesn't have background for a civil service post then off-course Rahman Malik does have :) ..... or the ambassadors of UK and US may have :) ....
Naumaan Jul 29, 2012 05:57am
Dr, I think you don't know the job grade of a Lt. General. He is equal to a FS while they retire before the age of 60 so can serve well. Criticism is good but should be constructive.
Syed Ali Jul 29, 2012 06:09am
You don't know how to get to be a general; study military.
Syed Ali Jul 29, 2012 06:12am
Grow up, remember what Indira Gandhi has done to Pakistan, and Margaret Thatcher to Argentina. Learn Lessons from history.
shankar Jul 30, 2012 10:33am
India does not give a damn about who Pakistan's defence secretary is as long as it is not Hafeez Sayeed!
Hassan Aftab Jul 31, 2012 08:45am
Job of section officer will be too complicated for intellectually challenged soldiers. Let them do what they do best; carve available land into plots and stake their claims.
Saba Jul 31, 2012 09:57pm
What we need is SINCERITY in our leaders. Who ever can keep the interest of Pakistan in mind is the right person for the job. As far as our armed forces are concerned, they have and continue to sacrifice for us so we should support them rather than become a prt of western propaganda in blaming them for everything. Some generals have made mistakes in the past( that too because of the incompetence of our politicos) but this in no way means all of them are corrupt.