Crisis lingers as govt yet to notify new ISI chief

Published October 14, 2021
A file picture of Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, the new director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). —  DawnNewsTV
A file picture of Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, the new director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). — DawnNewsTV

• Minister says consultation between PM, COAS complete
• Notice issued to PTI’s chief whip in NA

ISLAMABAD: Following the reported impasse between the civil and military leadership on the issue of appointment of new Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday received a summary carrying names of candidates for one of the most powerful slots in the country.

A federal minister, who did not want to be named, told Dawn that the premier received the summary that carried names for the office of DG ISI.

Also, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) reprimanded its chief whip in the National Assembly Amir Dogar for disclosing details of the Monday night meeting of the PM with Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa followed by Mr Khan’s remarks at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. He reportedly received a show-cause notice from the party.

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday tweeted that consultation between the PM and COAS on the appointment of a new DG ISI had been completed and the process for the appointment had begun. “The civil and military leadership has yet again proved that all institutions are united for the country’s stability, integrity and development,” he wrote.

While briefing the press about the cabinet meeting, the minister on Tuesday had stated that the prime minister wanted appointment of new DG ISI according to the Constitution.

However, according to experts in defence matters, the procedure for the appointment is not mentioned in the Constitution or the Army Act, and all past appointments were made as per traditions under which the army chief proposes three names to the premier who then makes a final decision.

Last week, the military’s media affairs wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had announced that Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum had been appointed the new ISI chief whereas Lt Gen Faiz Hameed had been posted as Peshawar corps commander.

Since a notification of the appointment had not been issued by the PM Office for next couple of days, it led to feverish speculation in the federal capital, compelling the government to break its silence on the issue. The information minister then on Tuesday told the presser that PM Khan and the COAS had a “long sitting” last night to discuss the matter after which the premier took the cabinet into confidence on the issue.

Meanwhile, Mr Dogar disclosed that the PM informed the federal cabinet that he had told the army chief that he wanted the DG ISI to continue for some time due to the critical situation in the neighbouring country.

“The prime minister has the authority to appoint the DG ISI and he held a detailed meeting with COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in this regard,” stated Mr Chaudhry earlier at the presser. “The federal government will follow a legal and constitutional procedure on the appointment of the DG ISI,” he said.

The minister categorically stated there would be no step taken from the PM Office or the military setup that damaged the repute of one another.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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