New Delhi: The army-civilian government leadership relationship in Pakistan stands where it was – clear supremacy of the military. Islamabad will get a new ISI chief in Lt. Gen Nadeem Anjum from next month. He will replace the incumbent Lt. Gen Faiz Hameed, who moves to a Corps command.
"The prime minister (Imran Khan) has seen and approved the appointment of Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum … as director general Inter-Services Intelligence, with effect from November 20, 2021, from the panel of officers," a notification issued by the PMO dated October 26 said.
However, spin masters have been put on the job, and some of them said, though Imran Khan finally picked the same general, who was named as new spymaster in the October 6 press release of the military's media wing, perhaps Pak PM has set a new precedent for the appointment of DG ISI.
"It was for the first time that the prime minister (Imran) interviewed potential candidates before finalising the name of the new spy chief sent by the Ministry of Defence," said a report in Pakistani newspaper 'The Express Tribune'. The pro-Imran lobby has tried to give a spin on the row, saying it is "for the first time" that the prime minister has interviewed 'potential candidates' before finalising the name of the new spy chief. But this is seen only as a face-saver for Imran Khan.
The designated DG Inter-Service Intelligence, Pak's notorious spy organisation, shall assume charge on November 20, 2021. Media reports said that Lt. Gen Nadeem Anjum, who was commissioned in service in September 1988, earlier headed Corps V in Karachi.
Finally, the 'formal and final' appointment order for the new ISI chief comes after nearly three weeks of a standoff between the military and the PMO in Islamabad over the appointment of Pakistan's new spymaster.
The army had announced on October 6 that the former ISI chief, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, had been made the Peshawar corps commander, while Lt Gen Anjum was appointed in his place. But the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had not since issued an official notification. The PMO notification is mandatory for the appointment of the ISI chief.
In between, Pak Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that the authority to appoint the ISI chief lay with the Prime Minister.
However, Imran Khan's assertiveness did not yield any result as, finally, Pakistan gets the new ISI chief – who has been 'handpicked' by the military and, of course, with no consultation with the Prime Minister.
There is speculation as to why Imran Khan tried to confront the Pakistani military establishment. One reason could be that Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, who also visited Kabul during the peak of the Taliban takeover, was PM Imran's preferred choice to head the spy organisation.
Hameed visited Kabul and reportedly gave 'inputs' to Taliban leaders for new government formation when Pakistan was internationally denounced for aiding the Taliban.
The Pak army is more than just being influential and powerful. Since 1947, it has staged three military coups toppling the elected Prime Ministers.
Reacting to the development following days of the reported standoff between the Pak PM and army chief, former Indian envoy to Islamabad, Sharat Sabharwal told a television channel that "the result is on expected line".
Since 2000, it was only in 2012 that a new DG ISI announcement came from the PM office.