Pakistan likely to replace ISI chief: Media report

Islamabad, Oct 8 (IANS) Pakistan is likely to replace the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar, within the next few weeks — cutting short the traditional three-year term — and shift him as the Karachi corps commander, The Nation reported.

A security official, privy to the development, confirmed the impending change of command at the nation’s powerful spy agency and said preparations were underway for the transition.

Lt. Gen. Akhtar was appointed the ISI head in September 2014 and took office that November.

The Karachi corps commander, Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, is most likely to replace him, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another senior security official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said 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 Saleem Bajwa, the chief military spokesman, however, denied that the intelligence chief was being replaced. “No such thing,” Gen Bajwa said, the Nation reported.

–IANS

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