Former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar on Saturday requested early retirement from the Pakistan Army citing "pressing personal commitments".

Gen Akhtar, in a letter, asked for "premature release" starting Oct 9, 2017, after nearly 35 years of active commissioned service in the armed forces.

"I want everyone [...] to respect my decision and not succumb or resort to speculation in any domain. I shall be available for any service in the army whenever needed," he added.

Akhtar, who was replaced by Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar as director general (DG) ISI, was posted as president of the National Defence University two weeks after Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa took oath last year.

Gen Akhtar is a graduate of the Command and Staff College in Quetta, National Defence University and the Army War College, USA. He was commissioned in the Pakistan Army in Frontier Force Regiment in September 1982.

He is from the Frontier Force Regiment and commanded the infantry brigade and infantry division in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Previously as DG Rangers Sindh, Gen Akhtar had been assigned with the task to lead the Karachi operation which began in 2013. But the military had replaced him as DG Rangers Sindh with Maj Gen Bilal Akbar in 2014.

He is considered to have extensive experience of counterinsurgency from a previous posting in the border region of South Waziristan.

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