Dubai: Pakistan has replaced chief of its top spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) only after eight months on the job.
Lt Gen Faiz Hameed has been appointed as the new director general of the ISI, replacing Lt Gen Asim Munir, who had been posted as the ISI Chief in October last year.
Lt Gen Hameed’s appointment came as part of the latest round of postings and transfers in the Pakistan armed forces.
Lt Gen Munir’s eight-month stint as the ISI chief was probably one of the shortest among those who had taken this post.
The new ISI Chief Lt Gen Hameed was promoted as lieutenant general in April this year and appointed as Adjutant General at the General Headquarters (GHQ).
He had previously served in the ISI as the head of internal security and is believed to be a close confidant of Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa. The outgoing ISI Chief Lt General Munir has been appointed as corps commander Gujranwala in Punjab.
Lt Gen Hameed is from the Army’s Baloch Regiment. His appointment comes at a very crucial time when both external and internal security challenges seem to be growing.
The appointment of the ISI’s DG is the prerogative of the prime minister. The spymaster’s choice, however, is made by the prime minister in consultation with the army chief.
The head of the ISI occupies one of the most important posts in Pakistan. The new ISI Chief is seen to be hugely influential within ISI during his previous stint at the agency, according to analysts.
He was one of the figures who brokered the Faizabad agreement in late 2017, when protesters from a religious group blocked off roads into capital Islamabad, in an incident that further stoked civilian-military tensions.
“He is very hardline,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, an analyst who has also written a book about the military’s business empire, and has been a longstanding critic.
“It’s a very hawkish decision. It means the military is not backing down, and it’s going to use more force.” The military did not explain why Munir, who was posted out to lead the Gujranwala Corps, was removed as ISI chief so soon into an expected three-year term.