• Notification issued after a final round of consultation with army chief
• Appointment to take effect from Nov 20, says notification

ISLAMABAD: The three-week-long impasse between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the military leadership over the appointment of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general finally came to an end on Tuesday with the former notifying army chief’s pick Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as the new spymaster.

“The prime minister has seen and approved the appointment of ... Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, HI (M) as Director General Inter-Services Intelligence,” read a notification signed by secretary to the prime minister Mohammad Azam Khan.

The appointment will take effect from Nov 20 and the outgoing ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hamid will remain in office till Nov 19, according to the notification.

The Army had earlier on Oct 6 announced the posting of Lt Gen Anjum as DG ISI in place of Lt Gen Hamid, who was posted out as the commander of Peshawar-based Corps XI. However, his appointment had not been immediately notified by the prime minister’s office giving the impression of a deadlock between the Imran-led government and the military — the first publicly known stand-off since the former came to office in 2018.

Multiple reasons were cited during the past couple of weeks for the PM not approving the appointment right away including his desire to retain the incumbent spymaster for some time due to an uncertain situation in Afghanistan and his insistence on being allowed to exercise the authority to appoint the DG ISI.

The phrasing of tweets by the PM Office on the notification of ISI chief’s appointment implied both factors delayed the process.

One of the tweets stated PM Khan and COAS Gen Bajwa on Tuesday concluded their consultations on the “timing of change of command in ISI and selection of the new DG ISI”. Subsequent tweets mentioned that the process including “submission of a list of officers” by the defence ministry and “interview of all the nominees” was followed.

It is publicly not disclosed which other generals besides Gen Anjum were nominated by the Army for the slot after the Oct 6 announcement. Media reports, meanwhile, stated Gen Anjum had met the premier on Oct 20.

Although the process for the ISI chief’s appointment is not mentioned explicitly in the Constitution or the Army Act, but the Rules of Business 1973 state: “Provided the appointment of, and above the rank of, Lieutenant General in the Army and equivalent ranks in the other Defence Services will be made by the Prime Minister in consultation with the President.”

The PMO asserted: “After this detailed consultative process, name of Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum was approved as new DG ISI.”

Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2021

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