Lieutenant General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha has been named the new chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), the most powerful of its myriad of largely independent spying organizations. He replaced Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj, a Musharraf appointee who held the position for about a year. Before that, the role belonged to General Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s current Chief of Army Staff.
Lt-Gen Pasha has been in the Pakistani Army for over 30 years, serving most recently as the Director-General of Military Operations. He was also appointed last year to be a Military Adviser for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and served as part of the 2001-02 UN mission to Sierra Leone.
The ISI has long been accused of militant ties. In July, the CIA secretly sent an official to Islamabad to present evidence to the Pakistani government regarding its ties with certain militant groups it deemed responsible for the increase in violence in Afghanistan. Bush Administration officials also claimed direct evidence of the ISI playing a role in the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Gilani issued a decree in late July bringing the ISI under direct control of the Interior Ministry. The move was reversed less than 24 hours later, however, at the behest of the military.
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