The chief of Pakistans powerful spy agency ISI,Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha,is likely to head the body that controls the countrys nuclear arsenal after the end of his present assignment next month,according to a media report Sunday.
Pasha is set to step down as Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief on March 18 as the government has decided against extending him another extension,Dawn News channel quoted its sources as saying.
The controversial ISI chief reached the age of retirement in 2010 and has been given two extensions.
He is likely to be made the head of the Strategic Plans Division,which controls the nuclear arsenal,the report said.
Pasha has served as the Director General of the ISI for three-and-half years. If Pasha made the head of the Strategic Plans Division,he will replace Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Kidwai,who has led the organisation for over a decade. Sources claimed that Pashas possible appointment as head of the Strategic Plans Division will help the future of Pak-US nuclear and strategic engagement,the report said.
Following Pashas alleged role in the scandal over a mysterious memo that had sought US help to prevent a possible military coup in Pakistan,it was reported he would not be given another extension,Dawn News reported.
The government is keeping mum on the issue of Pashas future for now. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will take a final decision after a one-on-one meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari,the channel quoted its sources as saying. The report further said that the government might appoint a non-military official or a retired military officer as the new chief of the spy agency.
It added that a source close to Pasha had disclosed that the spy agency chief did not want another extension,particularly after the memo issue which distanced him from the prime minister.
Recent reports have said that Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam and Lahore Corps Commander Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood are among the top contenders for the post of ISI chief. Others who are in contention for the slot include Director General Joint Staff Lt Gen Muhammad Asif,Adjutant General Lt Gen Javed Iqbal. Some reports have suggested that Maj Gen Isfandyar Ali Khan Pataudi,a relative of late Indian cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi,and Director General of Military Intelligence,Maj Gen Naushad Kayani,too are in the race.
However,commentators have noted that Pataudi and Kayani are not due for a promotion and the elevation of either of them to the post of ISI chief would mean that several generals would be superseded.
US drone crashes in Pakistan
A US drone crashed in the volatile North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan,apparently due to a technical problem,Pakistan officials said Sunday. The CIA-operated unmanned spy plane came down in the mountainous Machikhel area,30 km from Miranshah,the main town of North Waziristan Agency. There was no word from the US on the incident though unnamed Pakistani officials were quoted by TV news channels as saying that the drone apparently crashed due to a technical problem.
JeM leaders lecture at campus
Leaders of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group delivered lectures at the University of Peshawars campus though the varsitys rules do not permit such gatherings. Maulana Mufti Abdur Rehman and Maulana Hifzullah of the JeM visited the university Sunday. Two persons delivered speeches outside Madina Mosque in the university to a group of about 60 people. Speeches centred on efforts to invite people towards jihad, a student who listened to the speeches told Dawn newspaper.