Lieutenant General Fayez Hamid, the head of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service in Ain Asif. In an unprecedented move, the opposition coalition, the Pakistan Democratic Movement, demanded the resignation of the head of the Internal Intelligence (ISI) at a public gathering in the Punjab city of Faisalabad.
And slogans calling for his resignation were raised at the meeting, which is unheard of in Pakistan, where men in uniform have always been shooting. They have rejected elected governments, replacing them with those they see as more inclined to accede to their demands.
Is Imran Khan – who was chosen and installed in power by the military – now at odds with the General Command of Pakistan? The opposition stands convinced and plans to work together to oust Khan. There is a lot of fluctuation going on in political circles in Pakistan as the opposition swears by a potential victory. Nothing is clear at the moment.
The leader of the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif, dared to confront the army. His first political career began during the era of military dictator Zia al-Haq. Thereafter, Nawaz Sharif became his own man and vehemently opposed the army’s interference in civil affairs. Rawalpindi has never allowed Sharif to finish a term in office. It is known that the army played a major role in removing Nawaz Sharif from office and electing Imran Khan as prime minister in the 2018 parliamentary elections. Sharif and his daughter Maryam have long maintained that the military conspired with Imran Khan to remove Nawaz Sharif from his position.
The current complexities are due to a series of high-profile military transfers that the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced on October 6. In Pakistan, it is customary for the country’s prime minister to choose from among three names given by the army chief. This is according to a common tradition and not an institutional procedure. This is the first time that a civilian government (led by Imran Khan) and the military leadership disagree. Khan suddenly woke up to the fact that he is a democratically elected leader and the choice of a general manager is his prerogative. There were statements by ministers in the ruling party that the prime minister had the last word in appointing the intelligence chief.
A series of meetings took place between Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Prime Minister on this issue. However, Imran Khan has so far refused to report the transfers which has led to speculation about a tug of war between the civilian government and the General Command. In the past, all these cases were adjudicated in favor of the military.
Imran Khan’s insistence that Faiz Hamid remain in the position of intelligence chief is not surprising, given that he was the best defender in the ISI who helped Khan realize his prime ministerial ambitions. Hamid has mostly stayed behind the scenes. He played a major role in removing Sharif from his position. The idea here is to help Hamid stay in office so Khan can navigate the political quagmire caused by rising prices, mismanagement and more vociferous opposition. Publicly, the pretext for keeping Hamid is the crisis in Afghanistan.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Maryam Sharif submitted a petition in which she indirectly withdrew in Hamid. Seeking to overturn the sentence against her and her father in a corruption case, Maryam announced in her new application that she was providing some very important information to the court. I attached the speech delivered by Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, a former High Court judge in Islamabad, in which he claimed that the ISI was involved in the tampering of judicial proceedings. The judge alleged that the ISI was involved in the attempt to convict Nawaz Sharif.
Hamid’s transfer as commander of the Eleventh Corps in Peshawar will help him to become Army chief when that position comes. Experience in commanding a corps is a must to become the commander of the Pakistan Army. But Khan wants him to stay and has so far refused to report the transfers announced by the General Command.
The new intelligence chief, Nadim Anjum, is said to be close to Bajwa but not favored by Khan. Pakistan’s Daily Bulletin, Dawn’s recent editorial reads, “Many will not be attracted to Khan’s claim that he wants the same Director General of ISI to remain in office because of the Afghan situation. It is worth asking why a Prime Minister who claims to have been elected by millions of his men and women believe That his fate and that of his government are inextricably linked to one individual.” That is exactly what the opposition wants to know.