ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan army said on Monday it was posting Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, the current Corps Commander Peshawar, to head the Corps in Bahawalpur.
Gen Hameed is widely considered close to ex-premier Imran Khan prime minister and was the head of the ISI, Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, before he was moved to Peshawar last year.
“Lieutenant General Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat posted as Commander Peshawar Corps,” the army’s media wing said. “Lieutenant General Faiz hamid posted as Commander Bahawalpur Corps.”
The Peshawar, or XI, Corps, is the only corps assigned in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and is currently stationed in the provincial capital of Peshawar. The Corps was established and quickly raised in 1975 to support administrative military operational units in the country's northwest bordering Afghanistan. The corps is widely known for its involvement in the Soviet–Afghan War.
After the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001 and the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan, the XI Corps became the main Pakistani formation involved in fighting in the country's tribal regions in the country's northwest. It also commands substantial forces of the paramilitary Frontier Corps.
Gen Hameed's posting from Peshawar comes less than a week after the US carried out a drone strike in neighbouring Afghanistan, killing al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri with a drone missile while he stood on a balcony at his home in Kabul. The strike has raised questions about whether Pakistan’s airspace was used and if the government or military were involved.
Last week, former director-general of the ISPR Lt Gen Asif Ghafoor was appointed corps Commander Quetta after the serving commander died in a helicopter crash.
The army is arguably the most influential institution in Pakistan, with the military having ruled the country for about half of its 75-year history since independence from Britain and enjoying extensive powers even under civilian administrations.