ISLAMABAD: Pakistani information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Thursday the process to appoint a new head of the powerful ISI military spy agency would be “completed soon” as he called out media speculation on the matter which he said had made it “controversial.”
His comments come a day after he announced that consultations between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on the issue had concluded. There has been widespread media speculation in Pakistan in recent days about an alleged rift between Khan and Bajwa over last week’s appointment of Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad Anjum as DG ISI.
The army is arguably the most influential institution in Pakistan, with the military having ruled the country for about half of its 74-year history since independence from Britain and enjoying extensive powers even under civilian administrations. By turn, the head of the ISI occupies one of the most important posts in Pakistan. He is customarily appointed by the prime minister on the advice of the army chief.
Though Gen Anjum’s appointment was announced by the army’s media wing on October 6, the PM House has not yet released an official notification about the posting, fueling speculation about a disagreement.
“The process of appointing a new DG ISI will be completed soon,” Hussain wrote on Twitter, chiding “certain circles” for making the issue “controversial.”
نئی DG ISI کی تقرری کا عمل جلد مکمل ہو جائیگا، ایک مخصوص طبقہ اس معاملے پر جو کھیل کھیلنا چاہتا تھا وہ ناکام ہو چکا ہے اب کہا جا رہا ہے وزیر اعظم نئے DGISI کیلئے انٹرویو کریں گے ان عہدوں پر تعیناتی سے قبل ملاقات ایک عمومی روائیت ہے ایسے عمل کو بھی متنازعہ بنانا انتہائ نامناسب ہے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) October 14, 2021
On Tuesday, Hussain said the army chief and the prime minister had a “very long meeting” on Monday night on the issue.
On Wednesday he said consultations between the two leaders had been “completed.”
While announcing the new DG ISI last week, the army also transferred the current head of the ISI, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, as Corps Commander Peshawar. Gen Hameed is widely considered close to the prime minister.
The ISI is widely believed to have a hidden role in making many of the nuclear-armed nation’s policies, including on Afghanistan and India. The threat to Pakistan from nuclear-armed neighboring India has been a main preoccupation of the ISI through the decades.