Aftab appointed PM’s chief spymaster

07 Jun 2013


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.— File Photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appointed Aftab Sultan, a BS-22 officer of the Police Services of Pakistan (PSP), as his chief spymaster. He will head the intelligence bureau as its new director general.

Mr Sultan had also served at this position under the previous PPP government from Oct 2011 to July 2012. He left the post after former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was removed from office as a result of a Supreme Court decision.

A law graduate from Punjab University, who later did LLM from the University of Cambridge and also MSc in jurisprudence/legal studies from the University of Edinburgh, he is known for keeping a low profile. Throughout his career in police, he avoided getting closer to people in power.

In 2002, as regional police officer in Sargodha, Mr Sultan refused to assist the administration during the referendum called by then chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf. He paid for his defiance when he was made OSD.

The highlight of his career is a 5,000-page report which he prepared on the directives of the Supreme Court as additional inspector general of police about the famous Bank of Punjab case. The SC had appointed Mr Sultan as investigation officer after expressing dissatisfaction over the investigations conducted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Talking to Dawn, a senior official said Mr Sultan’s non-controversial career in police was believed to have led to his appointment as new DG of the IB. The official said that since Mr Sharif had come back to the helm of affairs after a gap of over 13 years, he needed somebody for this key position with a clean background.

“During the PPP government when fingers were pointed at every second government official, Mr Sultan was one of the very few top functionaries who worked with the federal government but was not charged with corruption,” he said.

As the IB chief, Mr Sultan will be working as eyes and ears for the new prime minister, particularly on the law and order conditions. In the past, governments have used the IB for their political agendas.

However, with the recent paradigm shift in which role of intelligence agencies in politics has come under increasing scrutiny, it is believed the new IB chief will be focusing on his primary job to gather intelligence for the prime minister against unscrupulous elements creating law and order problems.

PM OFFICE: By declaring the secretariat as Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Sharif has decided to devolve to ministries a plethora of departments which had been created in the past for the premier.

As per the new scheme of things, the prime minister will only have his key officials directly reporting to him and the rest of the staff will be sent back to their departments.

An official said there would be no more departments like public affairs division, grievances wing, economic affairs wing, foreign affairs wing and many others headed by a whole lot of civil servants officially deputed to the erstwhile prime minister’s secretariat with additional salary packages.

“A civil servant who works at the prime minister’s secretariat draws twice the salary his contemporaries get in other government departments. Hence everybody used to try to get a posting here in any section,” the official said.

The new move will help cut down on expenditures.

Meanwhile, PM Sharif has brought in his new team of officials, manning various departments, from his personal staff to his security detail.

Nasir Mehmood Khosa will be secretary to the prime minister instead of principal secretary.

Other key officials posted at the new office include Brig Mohammad Akmal as military secretary, Mohyuddin Wani as press secretary, Dr Zeshan of the police services as chief security officer and Mujahid Sher Dil of the DMG as his personal staff officer.

About reports that the new prime minister may be staying at the Punjab House, outgoing press secretary Shafqat Jalil, who has yet to relinquish his charge, said Prime Minister Sharif, after taking oath, had spent his first night at the Prime Minister House. “I think he is staying here and there is no truth in reports that he is shifting to some other place.”

The PML-N’s information secretary, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, also dismissed the reports as mere speculations.