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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.

MAJOR CORPS COMMANDERS CHANGES

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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Editor:

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

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