Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday that the process of appointing a new chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had started after consultation between Prime Minister Imran Khan and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa concluded.
In a tweet, the federal minister said that the consultation process on the new spy chief has been completed.
According to the minister, “The civil and military leadership once again proved that all institutions stand united for the sake of country’s sovereignty, stability, and progress.”
The controversy over the new spy chief started after the Prime Minister’s Office delayed the notification of Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum’s appointment, who was named as the new ISI chief by the Pakistan Army’s media wing in a press release.
On October 6, the military’s media wing issued a statement regarding the appointment of Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad Anjum as the new DG ISI, replacing the outgoing chief General Faiz Hameed.
Two days later, it first emerged on social media that the federal government had yet to issue a formal notification for the appointment of the new spymaster.
However, what led to intense rumours regarding the civil-military rift on the issue was the conspicuous silence by both Islamabad and Rawalpindi. It escalated further when Gen Faiz attended the National Security Committee meeting instead of the new spy chief.
The mainstream media “refrained” from picking up the story sensing the sensitivity surrounding the issue and the parties involved in it. The matter, however, was discussed in the federal cabinet’s meeting on Tuesday and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry cautiously spoke on the issue in the news conference after the cabinet meeting.
In the news conference, the government spokesperson didn’t clarify if the notification of the already named DG ISI would be issued or the premier had someone else in his mind.
Several eyebrows were raised when the information minister said that all the legal procedures would be followed for the appointment of the DG ISI, saying: “The authority to appoint DG ISI rests with Prime Minister.”
Sharing more details about the PM-COAS meeting, the minister said both had a long meeting on Monday night and they have close, cordial and ideal relations. Against the wishes of many Fawad said that he would like to tell that neither the PM and his office nor the army chief or the army would take any step that would undermine or disrespect the authority of the other side.
“The PM Office will never undermine the respect of Pakistan Army and the army chief. And the COAS and the army will never take any step that will undermine the respect of Pakistan’s prime minister or civil set-up,” Fawad said, adding that the appointment would be made through lawful procedure and both the PM and the COAS were in agreement on the matter.