ISI gets new chief in army reshuffle

Published October 7, 2021
New ISI chief Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum (L) and Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. — Photo courtesy ISPR/File
New ISI chief Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum (L) and Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. — Photo courtesy ISPR/File

ISLAMABAD: Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum was on Wednesday appo­inted as new chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Gen Anjum will replace Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, who has been posted out as Commander of Peshawar-based Corps XI.

The appointment of the new ISI director general comes after days of intense speculation about the change at the country’s premier intelligence service. It is believed that the matter had been under consideration for some time, but was announced after the corps commanders meeting held on Tuesday. Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa later met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday for a final formal consultation on the new pick.

The appointment of ISI director general is a prerogative of the prime minister. The spymaster’s choice is, however, made by the prime minister in consultation with the army chief.

Ex-spymaster Lt Gen Faiz to command Peshawar corps

Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum, who was commissioned in service in September 1988, earlier headed Corps V in Karachi.

While nominating Gen Anjum, the army chief possibly relied on his wide-ranging experience in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces and Karachi. His previous assignments gave him a good handle on both internal security challenges and external environment.

Gen Anjum commanded a brigade in Kurram Agency, led Frontier Corps (North) in Balochistan and remained commandant of Command and Staff College Quetta before becoming corps commander Karachi in December 2020.

The timing of the change at the ISI, however, took many by surprise. It was generally believed that Gen Hameed would hold the position till April next year though he had completed his two-year tenure.

Gen Hameed’s tenure was marred by controversies both internal and external, which often kept the ISI under media spotlight. He had entered the office with the same perception about his personality, which dated back to his days at the ISI as head of internal security.

Some are looking at the change from the angle of the upcoming race for the next army chief in 2022. Gen Hameed, who would be one of the contenders, was yet to command a corps. Therefore, it is thought that he has been moved to a corps to meet that requirement for the four-star position.

Gen Hameed’s new place of posting — Peshawar — would, moreover, keep him relevant to the developments in Afghanistan. During his over two years’ tenure, he remained closely associated with Pakistani efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Gen Hameed’s visit to Kabul on September 4, weeks after the Taliban takeover, had led to renewed allegations about Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. People came to know about his trip after he was spotted having tea with Pakistani envoy at a Kabul hotel where many foreign journalists were staying.

Gen Hameed had on that occasion also responded to a journalist’s question about future of Afghanistan, saying: “Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”

Other postings

Gen Hameed will take over the command of Peshawar corps from Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood, who will move to National Defence University (NDU) as its president.

Incumbent NDU president Lt Gen Muhammad Saeed will fill in the place vacated by Gen Anjum at Karachi corps following the latter’s posting as ISI chief.

Adjutant General Lt Gen Muhammad Aamer has been transferred and posted as corps commander Gujranwala. He will replace Lt Gen Asim Munir, who has been placed as Quarter Master General at the GHQ.

The adjutant general’s position will be held by newly promoted Lt Gen Muhammad Asim Malik.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2021

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