LAHORE: PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah has castigated the PTI government on the issue related to the appointment of new Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief saying it is handling this matter like that of (appointment of) Inspector General of Police.
“The government is handling this matter like that of appointment of IG police... It has made police ‘zero’ and lingering of this matter is unfortunate which has never happened in the country’s history,” Rana Sana told reporters here on Wednesday.
The PTI government in its three years or so in power has changed seven police chiefs in Punjab.
Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of trying to take control of the military establishment by turning it into his ‘Tiger Force’.
Asked whether the PML-N was with the choice of the army chief or PM Khan’s, Rana Sana said: “We are not with any name…but it is not good to expose institutions the way this government is doing. The post of the Director General ISI is a prestigious one and the pride of the nation. ISI is responsible for Pakistan’s security inside and outside the country. There are sacrifices of the army forces and ISI has exclusive series on the front of anti-terrorism. The Counter Terrorism Department had been established some four years ago and before it only ISI was there and it had done a lot of work on this front.” He said the institutions’ should not be disgraced.
The PML-N lawmaker further said the appointments of the DG ISI and the corps commanders should not be discussed the way it was being discussed today because of this inept government. “This amounts to hurting its prestige,” he said and questioned the delay (in the appointment of the new spymaster).
He also compared this matter with the state of the economy in the country.
“The situation on this matter is like that of what the government is doing to the economy,” he said.
The outspoken PML-N leader who is considered anti-establishment also asked PM Khan to tell the logic behind appointing the persons — Azad Kashmir prime minister (Abdul Qayyum) and Punjab chief minister (Usman Buzdar) -- whose names start with ‘ain’. He was responding to a question about ‘jantar, matar (spirits)’ being done for important appointments. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had claimed that all issues between the civil and military leadership had been settled and a notification of the new ISI director general would be issued during the current week.
According to military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief earlier this month reshuffled the top military hierarchy, transferring ISI DG Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to the position of Peshawar corps commander while appointing Karachi corps commander Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as new ISI director general.
A standoff developed on the issue between the civil and military leaderships as the prime minister was reportedly reluctant to appoint a new intelligence chief “against the law and constitutional norms”.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief whip in the National Assembly Amir Dogar had told the media last Tuesday that PM Khan wanted Lt Gen Hameed to stay in his office for some more time due to the critical situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2021