Islamabad: The chief of Pakistan`s powerful
spy agency ISI, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, is likely to head
the body that controls the country`s nuclear arsenal after the
end of his present assignment next month, according to a media
report on Sunday.
Pasha is set to step down as Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) chief on March 18 as the government has decided against
extending him another extension, Dawn News channel quoted its
sources as saying.
The controversial ISI chief reached the age of retirement
in 2010 and has been given two extensions. He is likely to be
made the head of the Strategic Plans Division, which controls
the nuclear arsenal, the report said.
Pasha has served as the Director General of the ISI for
three-and-half years. If Pasha is made the head of the
Strategic Plans Division, he will replace Lt Gen (retired)
Khalid Kidwai, who has led the organisation for over a decade.
Sources claimed that Pasha`s possible appointment as head
of the Strategic Plans Division will "help the future of
Pak-US nuclear and strategic engagement", the report said.
Following Pasha`s alleged role in the scandal over a
mysterious memo that had sought US help to prevent a possible
military coup in Pakistan, it was reported he would not be
given another extension, Dawn News reported.
The government is keeping mum on the issue of Pasha`s
future for now. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will take a
final decision after a one-on-one meeting with President Asif
Ali Zardari, the channel quoted its sources as saying.
The report further said that the government might appoint
a non-military official or a retired military officer as the
new chief of the ISI.
It added that a source close to Pasha had disclosed that
the spy agency chief did not want another extension,
particularly after the memo issue which distanced him from the
Recent reports have said that Karachi Corps Commander Lt
Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam and Lahore Corps Commander Lt Gen Rashad
Mahmood are among the top contenders for the post of ISI
Others who are in contention for the slot include
Director General Joint Staff Lt Gen Muhammad Asif, Adjutant
General Lt Gen Javed Iqbal.
Some reports have suggested that Maj Gen Isfandyar Ali
Khan Pataudi, a relative of late Indian cricketer Mansoor Ali
Khan Pataudi, and Director General of Military Intelligence,
Maj Gen Naushad Kayani, too are in the race.
However, commentators have noted that Pataudi and Kayani
are not due for a promotion and the elevation of either of
them to the post of ISI chief would mean that several generals
would be superseded.