ISI chief yet to receive notification on extension

Ahmed Shuja Pasha has been heading Pakistan`s ISI since October 2008.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2011, 14:03 PM IST

Islamabad: The Pakistan government is yet to issue a formal notification on the extension given to ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, whose tenure ended on Friday.

Several TV news channels aired reports that Pasha, a close aide of Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, had been granted another extension though there was lack of clarity on whether he would remain in office for one year or two years.

The lack of an official announcement or formal notification fuelled speculation about the issue, though Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar had confirmed his service would be extended.

An official of Defence Ministry told The Express Tribune newspaper yesterday that no notification was issued till he left the office in the evening. The Defence Ministry is responsible for issuing notifications related to extensions.

Some media reports speculated that Pasha would be given a year-long extension by the Prime Minister instead of the two years sought by the powerful Army.

Defence Minister Mukhtar had told the media on March 12 that the government would give an extension to Pasha "according to the requirement". He pointedly refused to specify the duration of the extension.

Pasha, who earlier served as the Director General of Military Operations, has headed the ISI since October 2008. He was given a year-long extension by Kayani last year. The Army chief himself was given an unprecedented three-year extension last year.

Under existing rules, the Army chief can extend the service of a lieutenant general for a year just once without seeking approval from the government. Further extensions require clearance from the President and Prime Minister.