Pakistan’s new ISI chief,Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam,is the nephew of Indian National Army hero Shah Nawaz Khan and through him,shares a tenuous link with Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan.
Islams father served as a brigadier in the Pakistan Army and Shah Nawaz Khan,who was a major general in the INA led by Subhas Chandra Bose,was his uncle,leading Pakistani defence analyst Ikram Sehgal told PTI. One son of Shah Nawaz Khan went with him at the time of Partition,while another,Mahmood Nawaz,stayed on in Pakistan and became a full colonel.
In fact,Mahmood Nawaz went and met his father only after retirement,as he could not travel to India while he was in service, Sehgal said,providing details of the new ISI chiefs extended family.
Shahrukh Khans late mother Lateef Fatima was the adopted daughter of Shah Nawaz Khan,according to the Bollywood stars biography on several websites.
Islam,who was on Friday appointed the new head of the powerful spy agency by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,comes from a military family and was born in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. It could not immediately be ascertained whether Islam had ever met Shah Nawaz Khan,who died in 1983.
Shah Nawaz Khan was himself born at Kahuta and served in the British Indian Army during World War II. He was captured when Japanese troops overran Singapore in 1942 and then joined the INA. He subsequently fought alongside Japanese forces against the British in Burma (now Myanmar).
Shah Nawaz Khan was captured by the British and put on trial with other INA officers in 1946. They were convicted for treason but were discharged due to intense pressure from the public. He later joined the Congress party and was elected to the Lok Sabha four times.
Before Islams appointment as the ISI chief,some media reports had suggested that Bollywood star Saif Ali Khans uncle Maj Gen Isfandyar Ali Khan Pataudi,a deputy director general in the spy agency,was in the running for the top slot.
However,sources told PTI that Pataudi was never seen as a serious contender for the post of ISI chief.