Pakistani Army-Imran Khan tussle continues over appointment of DG ISI

Oct 21, 2021

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 21 : A tussle between the Pakistani Army and Prime Minister Imran Khan is brimming over the appointment of the new Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
As per True Ceylon, the rift is growing between the 'selectors' (Pakistan Army) and the 'selected' (Prime Minister Imran Khan).
Publicly, both sides gave the impression of being on the 'same page'. But it was increasingly becoming clear that the proverbial 'page' was fraying, even disintegrating.
Khan tried to impose himself on the transfers and postings in the army, playing favourites with officers who he believes will do his bidding, reported True Ceylon.
Three generals were due for retirement and new people had to be posted in their place. It was against this backdrop that the ISI Chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was posted out of ISI as the new Corps Commander in Peshawar.
Hameed had served as ISI Chief for over two and a half years and needed to command a Corps if he had to have any chance to succeed Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa when his second tenure as Army Chief ends next year.
The new postings had been discussed and approved not just in the top echelons of the Army but also by the Prime Minister who picks the ISI Chief.
The military announced the new postings but three days after the announcement the Prime Minister's Secretariat has still not issued a notification on the appointment of the new Director-General of the ISI, reported True Ceylon.
The talk in Islamabad is that after first agreeing to Hameed's replacement, Imran Khan changed his mind. When there was a delay in the announcement of the new ISI Chief from the PM's Secretariat, the Army decided to confront it with a fait accompli by announcing Lt General Nadeem Anjum's name.
Instead of going along with the announcement, Imran Khan has dug in his heels. The grapevine is that he does not want Hameed to be posted out because Hameed is seen as his man, who ensured that Imran become Prime Minister and fixed his opponents, reported True Ceylon.
Hameed has become very controversial for his interference and messing up on Afghanistan - he is believed to have been marched in after his very public visit to Kabul.
While on the face of it, being given the command of the Peshawar Corps is push up for Hameed, it is also something of a minefield - one wrong move and that's the end of his career, reported True Ceylon.
There is speculation that Bajwa has sent Hameed to Peshawar and set him up for failure. But in reality, not only has Bajwa got Hameed, who was getting a bit too close for comfort to Imran, out of the way, but given him a post that could well see his exit in disgrace and ignominy, added True Ceylon.
As far as Imran is concerned, if Hameed has to go, then he wants his own man as DG ISI. Imran thinks, perhaps correctly, that with Hameed out, he will not get the political support he needs from the ISI's dirty tricks department. Basically, he fears being left out in the cold to fend for himself. Worse, he thinks that this could perhaps be the first step to his own ouster.
In order to ward off this possibility, the man Imran Khan wants as Hameed's replacement is believed to be the former ISPR Chief, Lt General Asif Gafoor, someone who had ingratiated himself with Imran during his stint as Director General ISPR, wrote True Ceylon.
Gafoor who is currently cooling his heels as IG Communications and Information Technology has been reportedly lobbying for the ISI Chief's post. In fact, a few months back there were strong rumours that he was being posted as the new DG ISI.
Imran is supposed to be keen on Gafoor for temporal reasons because Gafoor weaponized Twitter and social media to plug the military establishment's and Imran Khan's line. He set up a huge troll factory under the ISPR for this purpose. Since Imran Khan has nothing to show by way of governance and administration, he feels that if he can control the narrative and the perception by muzzling the media, reported True Ceylon.
Clearly, things are on a slippery slope in Islamabad/Rawalpindi now. The immediate crisis, even if tided over, has created an unbridgeable cleavage between Imran and his sponsors in the military.
If the next ISI Chief is anyone but Nadeem Anjum, Bajwa will lose face. Worse, he will be seen as a lame duck; if however the military forces Imran to sign on the dotted line, then Imran will lose face, wrote True Ceylon.