ISLAMABAD, Sept 15: After 17 years, the Ex-Servicemen Society, an organisation of retired soldiers, on Sunday got a new president - Lt-Gen retired Hamid Gul.

General (retired) Faiz Ali Chisti remained the president of the society since 1996.

Gen Gul, a former director general of Inter Servies Intelligence (ISI), was elected un-contested after another former ISI chief Ehsanul Haq withdrew his nomination on Saturday.

Both Gen Gul and Gen Haq were the directors general of the spy agency during the US-backed wars in Afghanistan in the mid 80s and early 2000.

They had submitted their nomination papers to the election commission of the society on September 1.

Gen Gul remained ISI chief during 1987 and 1989 when the US-backed Afghan Jihad against the then Soviet Union was at the last stages. He continued working in the spy agency in the post-stages of the Afghan war.

Gen Ehsan became the ISI director general on May 14, 2001, after then military ruler Pervez Musharraf removed pro-Taliban Lt-Gen Mahmood Ahmed Malik from the spy agency.

Colonel (retired) Sajjad, the election commissioner of the society, read out Gen (retired) Ehsan’s letter before the members of the national council of the society who had gathered in Rawalpindi to cast their votes. In the letter, Gen Ehsan stated that at the time of filing his nomination papers he did not knew that Gen Gul, his senior, was also contesting the election. He, however, said as a member of the society he would love to play any role under the leadership of Gen Gul.

Commodore (retired) Farooq Mirza, the vice-president of the executive committee of the society, proposed that Gen (retired) Chishti should continue working as the president because his term will expire after a few months.

But some ex-servicemen opposed the proposal. Colonel (retired) Inamur Rahim said Gen Chishti had already remained president of the society for 17 years and his stay in the office for another couple of months would not make any difference.

“Gen Gul was not interested in contesting the election but he agreed after the delegations of ex-servicemen repeatedly insisted him.”

Speaking on the occasion, Gen Chishti said since the elections were announced with his consent, it was not appropriate for him to prolong his stay as the president of the society.

He criticised former president Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf for not doing anything for the ex-servicemen.

However, he said, after Musharraf’s retirement he approved his membership because under the rules any serviceman after his retirement was entitled to get the membership of the society.

Gen Gul announced that he would unite the ex-servicemen as currently there was another association of the retired servicemen, Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (Pesa).

He said in addition to Pesa, he would also enroll the ex-servicemen of Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary in the society after which the membership of the society would increase to 2.5 million.

Gen Gul said the ex-servicemen society would play an active role in resolving key issues the nation was facing and would not compromise on any unjust solutions to the disputes related to the core issue of Kashmir and water with India.

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