Monday, September 29, 2008

Major reshuffle in Pakistan Army, DG ISI changed

Major reshuffle in Pakistan Army, DG ISI changed
By Iftikhar A. Khan, Dawn, September 30, 2008

ISLAMABAD: In a major reshuffle in the army’s top command, the chief of army staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday brought in a new head of the all-powerful Inter-services Intelligence (ISI), changed four of the nine corps commanders, and appointed a new chief of general staff, besides giving key postings to a few others.

The shake-up is the most wide-ranging since General Kayani took over as the COAS and perhaps even more significant since former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf stepped down as the country’s controversial president.

The move came within hours of the promotion of seven major generals to the rank of three-star lieutenant generals, with a number of them becoming the direct beneficiaries of the reshuffle.

Perhaps the most surprising of all such changes has been the appointed of Lt. General Ahmed Shujja Pasha as the new director general of ISI. He has replaced Lt. General Nadeem Taj, who has been appointed commander of 30 Corps in Gujranwala.

A highly professional soldier in his own right, Lt. General Pasha has, for the last two years, been overseeing the ongoing security operation in the tribal areas and parts of NWFP.

In his capacity as the director general military operations (DGMO) he had been directly responsible for the launching and execution of all the major security strikes in FATA and Swat, the latest being the major onslaught against religious extremists in the Bajaur tribal agency.

But he is not the only beneficiary of Monday’s promotions and reshuffle carried out by General Kayani who, many believe, has put in place a new team to implement his vision for reviving the prestige of the armed forces and for enhancing the security of the state.

Some of the other significant appointees are former SSG commander Lt. General Tahir Mahmood, who has been given the most crucial 10 Corps in Rawalpind; Lt. General Shahid Iqbal, who has been made commander of the 5 corps in Karachi; and Lt. General Mohammad Yusuf, who has been given 31 corps in Bhawalpur.

Lt. General Mustafa has been appointed as the Chief of General Staff, who will replace the incumbent Lt. General Salahuddin Satti.

According to an announcement by the ISPR, the Corps Commanders of Rawalpindi, Karachi, Bahawalpur and Gujranwala have been changed.

The reshuffle in the Pakistan Army is being seen by observers as highly significant in the backdrop of stepped up US incursions inside Pakistan’s territory and an unusual statement by the Army Chief declaring that violation of the country’s sovereignty would not be allowed at any cost.

Some observers have pointed out that the ISI Chief has been changed for the first time after the abortive attempt through a controversial notification to place the intelligence agency under the administrative, financial and operational control of the Interior Ministry.

Also see:

The News: Lt. Gen Pasha to Head ISI

Dawn: Pakistan appoints new ISI chief amid US accusations

NY Times: Pakistan Names New Intelligence Chief

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