Ahmed Shuja Pasha, New ISI Chief

Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha has replaced Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj as director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The Australian reports that Washington had been pressing Islamabad/Rawalpindi hard to replace Taj as late as Sunday night. President Asif Zardari reportedly met with CIA Director Michael Hayden this weekend in New York. What they discussed specifically is unclear — but Hayden reportedly provided Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will a proposal for “ISI reform” in July.

Taj, a Musharraf relative and appointee, is depicted as the face of the organization’s alleged double game vis-a-vis militants along the border with Afghanistan. He will now head Gujranwala’s XXX Corps.

Pasha, just promoted from major general, had been director general of military operations (DGMO). In this capacity, he headed the Pakistan Army’s operations in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and so his appointment provides no indication of a change in the military establishment’s war on terror policy.

He has represented Pakistan at the tripartate commission meetings and served as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s adviser on peacekeeping operations.


The Pakistan Army announced a host of other major personnel changes, most important of which is the appointment of Lt. Gen. Tahir Mehmood as corps commander in Rawalpindi — the second most critical position, behind chief of army staff, for any coup.

The new corps commanders for Bahawalpur and Karachi are, respectively, Lt. Gen. Muhammad Yousaf and Lt. Gen. Shahid Iqbal. Lieutenant General Mohsin Kamal, formerly Rawalpindi corps commander, has been appointed military secretary at GHQ.

Several senior officers were scheduled for retirement this Saturday.

Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani met with Prime Minister Gilani today in Lahore, after his return from a week long visit to China. The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei is also in Islamabad, making the rounds.

Dawn writes that Kayani “has put in place a new team to implement his vision for reviving the prestige of the armed forces and for enhancing the security of the state.”

And so with his own ISI chief and Rawalpindi corps commander in place, one could say this is now, at last, Kayani’s army.

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Category: Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Nadeem Taj


20 Responses

  1. Riaz Haq says:

    Even though the major reshuffle of top ranks by Kayani was apparently done because of US pressure, it appears that the US is not entirely happy with the results. There are also indications that Kayani is consolidating his power with the deepening divide between Zardari and the military. It appears that the military shares the suspicions of many Pakistanis that Zardari is in bed with the Americans, or at least playing a double game. It’s not clear how or when the situation will be resolved, given the deep distrust. The confusion will probably reign for a while. It’s going to be costly for Pakistan as it faces growing militancy and freely falling economy along with the lack of clarity of leadership.

  2. Anwer Kamal says:

    I am surprised to see anovementioned view.There is no difference looking anywhe between presedent Zardari and Pakistan army.The people who do not know genral Kiani and Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha those can say this.The both genrals are totally professional and there is no record of there political involment any time in their lives.The both are serious type personalities and famous for their tight lips.Now the command of Pakistan army is in the best hands after decades.Now it is the best time for the politicians to do something for the nation.The colation in the centre and the provinces are the real represntatives of the public.Pakistan Peoples Party,PML(N) ANP MQM and allies are there,who one else is there to claim the public representation.It is the high time to get results but they will have to go to public and not to play in hands of Beorocracy.

  3. Arif Rafiq says:

    Riaz, I agree with you 100%.

    Only a few entities truly benefit from the elite discord in Pakistan. Most prominent among these are al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan.

    Unfortunately, prudence is lacking.

    Pitting Pakistan’s institutions against one another is a recipe for disaster. In such a scenario, the ‘best’ thing that could happen is a soft coup. At worst, well — let’s just say it would be very, very ugly and difficult to contain.


    Anwer, I agree with you that the military is less politically inclined than in recent years. This has provided an opportunity for civilians to focus on institutionalizing democracy and good/improved governance. It is an opportunity many of them, quite sadly, are wasting.

    More resources have been invested in sidelining Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry than in pushing so-called judicial reform.

    February 18th provided an excellent opportunity to produce lasting change in Pakistan. But the country’s political direction is being managed by short sighted individuals in and outside the country.

    The potential consequences are grave. Just look at that “success” called Iraq.

  4. Anwer Kamal says:

    I am happy to see the results comming but have to say again
    Presedent Zardari,Mian Nawaz & Mian Shahbaz,Asfand Yar Wali And Alaf Hussain
    God has given you a chance
    people of Pakistan has selected you all
    Give Justice to the people,NRO for everyone and now no corruption
    See What people will do?
    We are not afraid of Taliban,We are not afraid of any superpower
    But please think forus ,We deserve Justice

  5. Danish Ali Ahmad says:

    it would be naive to hope aything but more corruption from people who are in charge now.
    I personally do not now about nawaz sharif, but i was resident of Karachi, so i know MQM and PPP, and my answer would be “FORGET IT” dont even think/dream of getting something from them.
    Pakistan’s prosperity lies in the abandoning Fuedalism, which MQM proclaimed for years, but joined hands with PPP. (who is born and strive on the laps of fuedalism).

    The solution is to create a party, in which a middle class or anybody but educated can get a ticket to run for public office. That is all.

    i am not asking that he should win the run for office. because i know, he will not the first time, nt 2nd but someday forsure. but when he wins, Pakistan win.

    please dont hope anything from PPP,ML-n-q-p , MQM,ANP, tehreek-insaaf, JUI OR ANYBODY.
    they are not serious. they do not know what you want.

  6. Danish Ali Ahmad says:

    ISI- is Pakistan.
    remember intelligence agency is always first defence of a country. I am proud of ISI, and we all should.
    lets keep it simple, and support ISI.
    its our lifeline.

  7. Anwer Kamal says:

    I am very sorry to see it.ashamed to feel it but every body must see an artical with *** means an advertisement on front page of daily Jang and with a photograph at back page of daily *The News*about inaugration of a road called Express way from so called DHA welly.Please must see and write what do you feel and must look the photo and then deciede what is the future?

  8. A.H Amin says:

    instead of glorifying ISI or superficial analysis we have to realise the fact that the problem is grave and has a long historical past,the ISI or the generals are also not the angels that they are being painted.pakistans afghan policy from 1978 was not based on national considerations but narrow personal considerations of survival of an illegitimate military regime totally isolated.having said that the ISI strategy in afghanistan was deeply flawed.this is the opinion of many including a relative who was handling the major south afghanistan operations including kandahar etc from 1981 to 1992.the failure to have a north of hindu kush strategy and so many other failures led to pakistan getting the worst name in the world.now the situatio again is a compicated mix and i dont see any individual in a key position as changing it….already the army operations in NWFP are not in a good shape…the army is not politically neutral,it never was actually since 1954,just its the international pressure,now the army is manipulating through political proxies,so we should not be surprised if we see a PML N government in next 6 months.all maniplated

  9. A.H Amin says:

    further to this a major reaso why the ISI and the military inteligence chiefs were removed was because they both were relatives of general musharraf ( and were percieved as very close to him) ,as I see it having interacted with the US military and NATO in Afghanistan as a contractor and security consultant , the Americans dont give a damn if nadeem taj or shuja pasha is the ISI boss.the bottom line is that anyone in their position will be bound by the same compulsions.

  10. Arif Rafiq says:

    Maj. Amin, I guess you are replying to Danish, not me. I did not articulate an opinion on the ISI.

    I agree with many of your criticisms, as I too find the strategic thinking in Pakistan quite lacking (comprehensively). And the problem from any authoritarian system (civilian or military) is that in restricting opposition/competition it reifies its own internal weaknesses (by eliminating potential external corrective forces), reduces the pool of intellectual capital, and becomes overly concerned with self-preservation.

    Your claim that the army is not politically neutral is very interesting, given that Gen. Kayani announced the closure of the ISI’s political cell on Saturday. What do you make of that? And are you suggesting that the Army is in favor of the PML-N coming to power (either because of direct support for it, or because it would provide a more favorable political context/cover)? Who are the Army’s “political proxies?” Specific, contemporary evidence would be very helpful.

    I must say reading your writing elsewhere (particularly book reviews) gives the impression that you are very bitter. That is not to say such an outlook is unwarranted in Pakistan. I like your critical approach, though I find it a bit petty on occasion. It would be interesting to read why you feel the way you do.

    Also, as with your previous comment, you are long on criticism and short on your own, independent ideas or alternatives. The latter would be very welcome. It might be difficult to provide one for today’s Pakistan, but then what’s the use of commenting if it has no potential contemporary usage? Alternatively, it would be interesting to see a more detailed critique of Pakistan’s Afghan strategy of the 80s.

  11. ejaz says:

    i proud of isi and its performence.keep it up.

  12. ejaz says:

    ISI is one of the best and very well organized intelligence agency in the word and am agee with danish its our life line

  13. lef sujha pasha refuses to meet the higer authorities of us.thats indicate that there is sort of conflict.
    how nice would be that if those people start discussing the matters with the elected people who come into power on the basis of public ulikethe old time when henry kissinger use to threat the rulers not to suport them in case if the do not go along with them,which might not be in the best intrest of pakistan.
    what i can not understand is that why would the us allowed some one as cheif of isi or joint cheif of staff who will disoby them or may be the institutions in pakistan is getting stronger

  14. will any one please tell me who realy is rulling pakistan.is it reallythe 2.5% fudels who become fudels cause english gave them lands when the were leaving india in responce to their favoir for english.
    who really make our foreign policy.how come we even after 61 years not independent.why would we take advises from us even to appoint an important office.it looks like they are more responsible to the us than to thair own people.
    some body please tell me.i am a student.

  15. Anwer Kamal says:

    So the tome proved that Kiani and Pasha are our best available army stuff. (Till they do not enter in power play). However I am sorry N$ and Showbaz are playing the traditional Punjabi politex.

  16. ghufran Khan says:

    From ghufran Australia

    ISI is not only the name of military inteligence but infact if any body knows it is the first line defence for pakistan.Respect for ISI is exist in our blood, we must stand by ISI as patriotic pakistani.Amirica and world media target ISI becuase ISI does not allow anybody to destroy pakistan.No ISI means no Pakistan.Changing the ISI cheif does not mean changing the policy of ISI.Up untill ISI is in tact, pakistan will intac too.The world power want to deprive us from ISI. so that we become afghanistan and Iraq.Live long ISI and pakistan.ISI is currently fighting for the survival of paksitan as we are sorounded by enemy deprive us from our nuclear nukes, as they have important role to play.

  17. khan says:

    I just want to say that why pakistani govt is trying to restore their relation with india every time, now after mumbai attacks the situation of both the countries were very intense nd they were ready for a war than. Pakistan is trying to better its relation with india but is neglecting His brother country afghanistan every time by saying this that afghanistan has good reltion with india. If we study history, it is clear that people af afghanistan helped both of them pakistan and india, when ever there came a hardtime for the muslims of southasia. i think this is the time for ISI and the govt of pakistan to change yours policy about afghanistan. this will benifit both of them and more this will bring happiness and prosperity for the people of both countries. our leaders bring our policies from Britain nd US. it is the need of time to wake up nd do something for ur people not for your personal benefits.
    i just want that our relations must be improve bcz we suffered alot from these wrong and feudal policies will never leave us happy and prosper.
    i apologize if i made any mistake , i just want to express my feeling about this problem which is a real and need our attention.

  18. sociologist says:

    hello guys, politicians in pakistan are illiterate and ignorant, they have no dicipline and logic,some are matric fail or matric pass by naqel,or little aqel,the state policy is the policy of the army and intelligence agencies, this is non,sense to bring security agencies under civilian,s government or law,leaders are show to the world that we have democracy in pakistan,who believe that Asfandyar walli khan could make a social policy? in pakistan who wants to get rich and famouse then steps to politics,pakistan is a police,s state,army does what they want,no law and no boundries,pakistan is full of dirts and shits and this is not an easy task to path the way to progress,worst educational system,worst class system,if you guys hope for a better pakistan you need to correct the first unite of pakistan, equal education,equal opportunities,and fair justice system,then we can talk about democracy and a state where is law nt a police state,a tragedy i remember when army beated badly an old man with beared in swat very badly.

  19. Imran says:

    We proud ISI. ISI is really really our lifeline.

  20. Shams says:

    we proud on our I.S.I because its fighting our war and whole world is against us and I.S.I is defending us love u I.S.I and love pasha….

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Arif Rafiq, a Washington, DC-based consultant on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. [About]

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Arif Rafiq regularly appears on the John Batchelor Show Friday nights from 09:30-10:00pm Eastern Time. Tune your dial to 770AM in New York or 630AM in DC. The show appears on affiliates in other cities. Listen live online at WABCRadio.com.
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