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Surgical strike fallout? Pakistan’s ISI chief likely to be replaced soon

Corps commander of Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar is most likely to replace the ISI chief
Pak ISI Chief

In the wake of surgical strike carried out by the Indian Army, chief of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar is likely to be replaced within the next few weeks, a media report said on Saturday.

Replacing the retiring Lt Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam, Lieutenant General Akhtar was appointed the director general of ISI in September 2014 and took office in November 2014.

All appointments in ISI are normally for a three-year period, unless the ISI chief retires or is replaced by the army chief.

A Pakistani daily reported of the impending change of command and said preparations were underway for the changes.

“Intriguingly, he may be leaving the position earlier than the typical three-year tenure of a ISI DG,” The Nation reported, citing a security official in know of the development.

The daily quoted the official as saying that corps commander of Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar is most likely to replace the ISI chief.

Another senior security official was quoted as saying that Lt Gen Akhtar — who has already served in Karachi as Director General, Sindh Rangers — knows the challenges in Karachi and “the swapping makes sense”.

The official was, however, more circumspect about the timing of the change and said, “It depends on whether the army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, gets an extension or retires as announced.”

“I don’t think the notification of other changes in military command will come before that,” he said. “There are a lot of variables involved.”

Gen Raheel Sharif had announced earlier this year that he is not seeking an extension and would retire in November. Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, the chief military spokesman, however, denied that the intelligence chief was being replaced. “No such thing,” Lt Gen Bajwa said when asked about it. The daily also did not cite any reason why the ISI chief is being replaced.

The relation between India and Pakistan has been on stand-off following the Uri attack and surgical strike. After the surgical strike, Pakistan have also violated ceasefire many times.

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