ISLAMABAD: In a surprise reshuffle, the Pakistan Army on Sunday announced that Lt Gen Faiz Hameed had been appointed the director general of premier spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Gen Hameed replaces Lt Gen Asim Munir, who had been posted as the spymaster in October.
Gen Munir’s eight-month stint as the ISI chief was probably one of the shortest among those who had served this office.
Gen Hameed was on his promotion as lieutenant general in April appointed as Adjutant General at the General Headquarters (GHQ). He previously served in the ISI as the head of internal security and is believed to be a close confidant of Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa.
Military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had at a press conference on July 10, 2018 profusely praised Gen Hameed for his role in fighting terrorism.
Outgoing spymaster named as Gujranwala corps commander
“People have started naming Gen Faiz. They probably don’t even know his role. You can’t even think of the role played by his department in the fight against terrorism. Even if what you are speculating is true, it is not even 5 per cent of what that institution and Gen Faiz’s department are doing. All these terrorist incidents that I tell you have been averted are because of Gen Faiz’s department,” Gen Ghafoor had on that occasion said in reference to some allegations by PML-N.
Gen Hameed’s name first caught public eye when he helped end Faizabad dharna by a religious group in November 2017 through an agreement. The group had then staged the sit-in against amendments to Elections Act 2017.
Gen Hameed is from the Army’s Baloch Regiment.
His appointment comes at a very crucial time when both external and internal security challenges seem to be growing. It is believed that his vast experience at ISI may help him deal with those challenges.
The appointment of the ISI’s DG is the prerogative of the prime minister. The spymaster’s choice is, however, made by the prime minister in consultation with the army chief.
Gen Hameed’s predecessor Gen Munir has, meanwhile, been named as the new corps commander Gujranwala.
Prior to his stint in ISI, Gen Munir headed Military Intelligence as its director general. There were very few examples of a Military Intelligence chief being posted as the head of ISI. Gen Bajwa had picked Gen Munir as the Military Intelligence chief months after assuming command of the Army in November 2016.
In other appointments, Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza would replace Gen Hameed as the adjutant general at GHQ. Gen Mirza had after his promotion as three star general last April remained at his earlier appointment as Vice Chief of General Staff-A. He has previously served as Director General Military Operations.
Lt Gen Amir Abbasi has been moved from Gujranwala Corps, where he was posted as commander, to GHQ as Quarter Master General. The incumbent QMG Lt Gen Moazzam Ejaz has, meanwhile, been appointed as Engineer-in-Chief.
Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2019