x

Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Pakistan appoints new head of powerful spy agency

Lieutenant General Asim Munir will take charge of the ISI

This photo released by the Inter-Services Public Relation Department, shows newly appointed chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence service, Lt. Gen. Asim Munir. AP
This photo released by the Inter-Services Public Relation Department, shows newly appointed chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence service, Lt. Gen. Asim Munir. AP

Pakistan has appointed a new chief of its powerful intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), after the previous head completed his term this month.

Lieutenant General Asim Munir, will take the charge from the outgoing ISI chief Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, the Inter Services Public Relations, the military’s media wing said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Munir previously headed Military Intelligence and was a field commander. He was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, a top medal, earlier this year.

A professional and decorated military officer, Mr Munir previously commanded the Pakistani forces deployed in the mountainous northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The appointment of General Asim Munir is the good choice as he has lot of previous experience of intelligence and will not take time in settling in the post,” General Ret Amjad Shoaib, a defence analyst told The National.

Ranked as the world's number one intelligence agency, the external operations arm of the ISI has long been accused by the United States and regional rival India of not taking action against certain insurgent groups, a charge Pakistan has repeatedly denied.

This photo released by the Inter-Services Public Relation Department, shows newly appointed chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence service, Lt. Gen. Asim Munir. AP
This photo released by the Inter-Services Public Relation Department, shows newly appointed chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence service, Lt. Gen. Asim Munir. AP

The ISI also plays a key role in shaping the foreign policy of South Asian country.

The US administration accused the ISI of providing safe havens to Haqqani network – the Afghan Taliban splinter group – in the neighbouring Afghan war. Former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen once called the Haqqani Network “a veritable arm” of the ISI.

Relations between Islamabad and Washington remain strained and President Trump has cut down the $1.1 billion security assistance aid to Islamabad and blamed Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit”.

_______________

Read more:

Former Pakistan finance minister stripped of properties in graft case

Pakistan court orders release of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan's opposition leader jailed for 10 days ahead of by-elections

_______________

Prime Minister Imran Khan, soon after winning the elections in July, vowed to renegotiate the US-Pakistan relationship based on mutual respect. Pakistan and US officials have met several times since the Khan government came into power. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s paid a visit to Pakistan last month and both sides said it was fruitful. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also met Mr Pompeo on his US visit earlier this month.

Newly appointed spy chief Lieutenant-General Munir, is expected to play a key role in facilitating a negotiated resolution of the Afghan conflict.