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Dark Side Last Updated: Oct 19, 2021 - 11:35:07 AM


Director of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency replaced following much speculation
By Joseph Fitsanakis, Intel, October 15, 2021
Oct 18, 2021 - 4:55:18 PM

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Inter-Services Public Relations PakistanTHE DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) directorate, which is one of the country’s most powerful institutions, has been replaced, following weeks of speculation. On Wednesday, a press release issued by the Pakistani military announced that Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed would step down from his post of director of ISI, and will be replaced by Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum. General Hameed will now assume charge of Pakistan’s elite Corps XI in Peshawar, according to the press release.

As F.M. Shakil notes in The Asia Times, General Hameed’s removal from the top post at ISI had been speculated about for some time. His leadership in the ISI was marked by the spy agency’s increasingly close relations with the Afghan Taliban, as the group prepared to take back power in Afghanistan. Hameed’s activities in Afghanistan were strongly supported by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, who is believed to have fought to retain him as ISI director until the dust from the Taliban’s takeover settles in Kabul. The fact that Khan’s wish did not materialize is interesting, especially since, under Pakistani law, it is the prime minister’s office that appoints the director-general of the ISI.

Shakil suggests that Khan may have faced pressure from two fronts. First, from China, which is arguably Pakistan’s most important international ally. Beijing has been notably unhappy with the inability of the ISI to stop a string of armed attacks against Chinese workers, who are employed by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as other projects throughout Pakistan. These attacks have angered China, and have prompted strong calls for more security around Chinese-funded building projects in Pakistan. Beijing is believed to have asked for Hameed’s replacement as a result.

Second, the Pakistani military leadership saw Hameed’s relationship-building program with the Afghan Taliban as having gone a few steps too far. The issue is not so much the relationship-building itself —on the contrary, the Pakistani military wants to be in a position to influence Afghanistan’s new masters. But Hameed stands accused of having maneuvered too visibly. As Shakil notes, the ISI strongman visited Kabul just days after the Taliban takeover and was photographed “sipping green tea [next to Taliban leaders] with a triumphant smile”. That angered the Americans and caused some Pakistani military leaders to believe that Washington might even impose sanctions on Islamabad.

The argument, therefore, is that Hameed’s replacement pleases the Chinese, the Americans and the Pakistani military. The only side that did not get its way is that of the prime minister. Time will show what this means for the future of civilian rule in the world’s only nuclear-armed Muslim-majority nation.


Source:Ocnus.net 2021

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