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Zaheer-ul Islam appointed new DG ISI

10 March, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The eventful tenure of Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha as director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has finally come to an end, as the prime minister on Friday appointed Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam as the new head of the country's premier intelligence agency.

"Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has appointed Lt General Zaheerul Islam, the Karachi corps commander, as new director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence," the PM's House announced on Friday.

Zaheerul Islam assumes charge of the ISI DG following the retirement of Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who was appointed in 2008 and is retiring on March 18 after having served a one-year extension in tenure granted to him in March 2011.

The rumours about extension in the services of Pasha as ISI DG had been making the rounds for quite some time. However, Prime Minister Gilani brushed all rumours aside when he approved Zaheer's appointment as new head of the ISI.

Zaheerul Islam has earlier served as the deputy director general of the ISI as a major general. He was then promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and appointed as corps commander, Karachi, where had been serving since then.

The PML-N opposed any plans to extend the services of Gen Pasha, as soon as rumours in this regard started making rounds. Opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was particularly critical over any presumed extension and expressed concern regarding the situation. "The PM has no authority to extend Pasha's tenure," he had said on Thursday.

He even cautioned that if any extension was granted to Pasha, it would trigger a legal issue, pointing out that there has been some serious setbacks regarding intelligence during Pasha'a tenure as the ISI chief.

A US official said Islam had travelled to America during his career to attend US military-sponsored training programmes, and was familiar with his American counterparts.

"It would not be a surprise to see a brief transition period as the new head of the ISI gets up to speed, but that shouldn't have much impact on counter terrorism cooperation," said the official, speaking anonymously. staff

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