Impasse between Imran, Pak army over new ISI chief continues
“The problem is that every hour some person, for getting fame, twists some words and puts it up on Twitter. At this time, the process has started. There is no conflict between the army and the government. Everyone is on the same page,” Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Thursday. He claimed that a specific section, which wants to play on this, has been defeated.
The ministry of defence — to be more specific army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa — had announced the replacement of the outgoing spymaster Lt Gen Faiz Hameed by Karachi’s corps commander Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum on October 6. The decision was not welcomed by the PM as he was not consulted on it.
Since Gen Bajwa’s decision, some of the cabinet members had started claiming that it was the PM’s prerogative to make an appointment of the ISI chief. Amir Dogar, one of Khan’s top aides, had recently claimed that the PM wanted to retain Hameed as his ISI chief.
Following the reported impasse between the civil and military leadership on the issue, the PM’s office received a summary on Wednesday carrying names of three candidates and Khan, as a rule, has to choose one from them or pick up someone else for the ISI chief’s post.
A day earlier, the information minister had said that the issue regarding the appointment was settled after a lengthy meeting between Khan and Bajwa.
Hours later, one of the federal ministers was quoted by media as saying that the PM wanted to interview officials who were shortlisted for the position of ISI DG.
Responding to the minister’s claim, the information minister said that it was a convention for the prime minister to meet candidates before appointments were made to key positions such as the ISI chief. “Now it is being said that the PM will conduct interviews for the new ISI chief,” he said.
In response to a question about when the government would notify the new ISI chief, PM’s aide on political communication, Shahbaz Gill, who was accompanying the information minister, said: “Do not take this so urgently. It is serious business.”
He said that the information minister would share the news with the media as soon as the prime minister makes a decision and urged the media to refrain from sensationalising national matters.
The government’s claim about the PM receiving a summary for the appointment of the new spymaster has prompted netizens to poke fun at PM Khan, who had earlier said that he wanted Hameed to continue with his job. One of the posts that was frequently shared in social media groups said: “PM to nominate the next ISI chief from a list of three names recommended by the chief of army staff. The three names recommended by Gen Bajwa are Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, Lt Gen Nadeem A Anjum and Lt Gen N A Anjum.”