Aye-Yes-Aye: Imran Khan, Gen Bajwa Bicker Over New ISI Chief as Charges of ‘Favouritism, Meddling’ Fly
Tension between Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has reached a peak over the appointment of Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum as the new chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). In a long meeting between the two on Monday night, Gen Bajwa categorically told the Pakistani PM that the government cannot interfere in military matters.
According to exclusive details of the meeting available with CNN-News18, Khan wanted to retain outgoing ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed till December but Gen Bajwa told him that it was not possible in any case. He told the PM that he could maximum retain Lt Gen Hameed up to November 15. The army chief also told Khan that the “civil government” should not interfere in military matters.
In another barb, Gen Bajwa told Khan that just because he and Lt Gen Hameed had a good relationship, he could not expect him to be “retained forever”.
However, there is news that the two have sorted their differences in the meeting. There has been confusion over Lt Gen Anjum’s appointment without an official notification from Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) even after five days of the announcement from General Headquarters, the seat of the Pakistan Army.
Sources close to Khan said in their meeting on Monday night, the prime minister made some suggestions that were not accepted by Gen Bajwa, including a change in the structure of the ISI.
Sources said Khan wants the ISI to be like a corps in the Pakistan Army. The PM was upset with the army because he felt that his position was being undermined, they added.
According to sources, Khan also told Gen Bajwa that the announcement of the new ISI chief should have first been made by the PMO.
Pakistan information minister Fawad Chaudhry, in a statement, said, “The authority of the appointment of the ISI chief lies with the Pakistani government. We will do everything after due diligence.”
However, sources from GHQ said the notification of the appointment was possible soon and the new chief will join in the next seven to 10 days.