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Pakistan appoints new ISI chief

June 17, 2019 08:32 IST

Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid will take to his new command as duck to water, notes Rana Banerji, who headed the Pakistan desk at the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency.

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph: Kind courtesy @OfficialDGISPR/Twitter

IMAGE: Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Photograph: Kind courtesy @OfficialDGISPR/Twitter

In an unexpected reshuffle, Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has again shifted his newly promoted lieutenant generals.

Lieutentant General Asim Munir Shah, who had Joined the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate a few months ago has moved out as corps commander, 30 Corps, Gujranwala.

This shift indicates that though General Munir was regarded a Bajwa favourite, having worked under him in the Northern Areas (Gilgit Baltistan) while General Bajwa commanded the 10 Corps, he seemed not to like his new charge in the ISI or was seen as not being cut out for cloak and dagger work, preferring perhaps the more routine slot of a corps command.

The Gujranwala corps is considered a less glamorous, defensive installation, also relevant to keep a close eye on domestic political developments.

 

Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, who had been placed as adjutant general, now goes to the ISI.

He was deputy director general, counter intelligence, at the ISI earlier, playing what came to be regarded as a somewhat controversial role in controlling the Tehrik e Labaik agitation which paralysed normal communication in the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad during the last months of the Nawaz Sharif government.

He clearly remains one of General Bajwa's trusted aides and will take to his ISI command as duck to water.

Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza has been made the new adjutant general. This is likely to be a holding assignment till he is sent to a corps command or a more important assignment in due course, during the September 2019 reshuffle or after General Bajwa retires.

Lieutenant General Amir Abbassi moves from Gujranwala to GHQ as the new quarter master general while Lieutenant General Moazzem Ejaz, who was QMG, is made engineer in chief.

General Abbassi's stint in Gujranwala lasted little over a year and continues the Bajwa policy of rotating corps commands with staff assignments in an equitable manner, to keep the senior collegiate group of lieutenant generals content.

Meanwhile, the evolving consensus among retired army officers in Pakistan seems to suggest that General Bajwa will retire on time, in November 2019, and that there are no trends currently to indicate that he is aspiring or working for an extension of his term.

RANA BANERJI
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