Army chief gets security briefing at ISI HQs

Published October 19, 2021
CHIEF of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa chairs a meeting during his visit to the Inter-Services Intelligence headquarters on Monday.—INP
CHIEF of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa chairs a meeting during his visit to the Inter-Services Intelligence headquarters on Monday.—INP

• PM Office receives summary on spymaster’s appointment
• Change of command ceremony held at Gujranwala cantonment
• Imran, Bajwa, ISI chief attend NCOC meeting

ISLAMABAD: Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa on Monday visited the Inter-Services Intelli­gence (ISI) headquarters for a ‘security briefing’, said the Inter-Services Public Relations.

Gen Bajwa was accompanied by Chief of Gen Staff Lt Gen Azhar Abbas during the visit, while Director General of ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hamid gave the briefing.

Speaking on this occasion, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Bajwa expressed satisfaction over the preparedness of the organisation, said the military’s media affairs wing.

“COAS was briefed on the internal security and ongoing situation in Afghanistan,” ISPR said in a brief statement on the visit that took place amidst the ongoing controversy over the appointment of the new ISI chief.

The army had on Oct 6 notified Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as Lt Gen Faiz Hamid’s successor at ISI. Gen Hamid was, meanwhile, posted as corps commander, Peshawar.

However, the process was later held up because of absence of the notification of Gen Anjum’s appointment by the Prime Minister Office.

The PM and COAS had met before the new postings were announced by the Army. However, they held a second round of consultations over the issue after the ‘spat’ became public. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had after their meeting said the process for the appointment of the new spymaster would be completed soon.

The defence ministry’s ‘summary’ for the appointment of the ISI chief was received by the PM Office on Monday, a source claimed, adding that the premier was expected to take his decision on the matter soon.

In the meantime, the movement of the senior commanders reshuffled on Oct 6 has already begun in what many see as an indication that the process is finally under way.

“Change of Command Ceremony held at Gujranwala cantt. Lieutenant General Syed Asim Munir handed over command of Gujranwala Corps to Lieutenant General Muhammad Aamer, Corps Commander Gujranwala Corps,” ISPR said in a rare statement on the change of command at a corps.

Gen Aamer was earlier posted as Adjutant General at the General Headquarters. Gen Munir would, meanwhile, takeover as Quarter Master General at GHQ. The adjutant general’s position has, meanwhile, been filled up by newly promoted Lt Gen Mohammad Asim Malik.

Earlier during the day, the PM, COAS and DG ISI Lt Gen Hamid shared a rare stage at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for Covid-19.

All the three figures being widely discussed in the media since the announcement of the Oct 6 reshuffle in the top military hierarchy gathered at a ceremony held in connection with the retirement of NCOC chief coordinator Lt Gen Hamood-uz-Zaman Khan.

However, when asked about any trilateral talks, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, said no such meeting was held on the occasion or later.

An official, who attends NCOC meetings, said their visit seemed to be an attempt to provide an opportunity to all three personalities to spend some time together at same place with the hope that it might break the ice amid reports about prevailing tension due to the impasse between the civil and military leadership over the DG ISI appointment.

The official said another reason to invite all the personalities at NCOC could be an attempt to show that the civil along with military and intelligence administrations managed to control the pandemic in Pakistan. “While tens of thousands of Covid-19 cases are being reported in other countries, in Pakistan less than 1,000 cases of Covid-19 are being reported a day. Also, positivity rate has dropped to less than 2 per cent across the country, apart from Hyderabad,” he said.

“All participants seemed calm, if not very happy, and the meeting concluded in a pleasant environment. I would say there was no tense situation during the meeting,” he said.

Minister Umar, who attended the Monday meeting, later told a presser that it was just a farewell in respect of Lt Gen Hamood-uz-Zaman. No trilateral meeting was held on the occasion or later, he added.

About the NCOC chief coordinator, the minister said: “Nobody could have wished for a co-pilot better than him.”

According to an official NCOC statement, Major General Asif Mahmood Goraya, director general of the NCOC, apprised the forum of latest Covid-19 situation, measures in place to contain the spread of the disease, vaccine administration including future Covid-19 management strategy, during the visit of the premier, army chief and ISI DG.

The NCOC data showed that 663 more Covid cases were reported from across the country in past one day, as national positivity remained at 1.66pc. Earlier, the same number of cases was reported on June 21.

The prime minister, the official statement claimed, appreciated efforts of NCOC and all federating units for synergised response during the pandemic to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people of Pakistan. However, he directed all stakeholders to maximise efforts for mandatory vaccination drive and enforcement of requisite non-pharmaceutical interventions.

“Later the PM presented NCOC memento to Lt Gen Hamood uz Zaman Khan on his retirement for outstanding services rendered as national coordinator at NCOC, playing an instrumental role in the nation’s fight against Covid-19 through flawless management of resources and seamless coordination among all stakeholders,” the NCOC statement added.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2021

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