Lieutenant (Lt) General Rizwan Akhtar has been appointed as the new chief of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in a major reshuffle in the army, which also saw the promotion of six major generals to the rank of lieutenant generals.
The chief military spokesperson, Major General Asim Salim Bajwa, confirmed on Monday through his twitter account that former Director General Sindh Rangers General Rizwan Akhar, after being elevated to the rank of Lt General, will replace the incumbent DG ISI Lt General Zaheerul Islam, who is set to retire in October.
Akhtar will assume his responsibilities on November 8.
The newly appointed DG ISI, a graduate of the Command and Staff College Quetta, NDU Islamabad and the War Course in USA, was commissioned in the Frontier Force Regiment in September 1982. He has commanded an Infantry Brigade and Division in FATA and also remained DG Rangers Sindh.
The post of DG ISI is considered to be the most powerful after the army chief. The appointment of the new ISI chief was being closely watched in view of speculations that the outgoing spymaster might be behind the ongoing anti-government protests in Islamabad.
Technically, the appointment of the ISI chief is the prerogative of the prime minister, but the announcement made by ISPR appears to suggest it was army chief General Raheel Sharif who prevailed in this key appointment.
Other major generals who have been promoted to the rank of Lt General include Hilal Hussain, Ghayur Mahmood, Nazir Butt, Navid Mukhtar and Hidayat Ur Rehman.