Vol. I Issue. 31
Army denies involvement in PM ouster
04 July 2012
Pakistan Army has denied any involvement in the ouster of Yousuf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister. A senior military officer denied the recent charges that the military with the connivance of Supreme Court orchestrated the removal of Prime Minister Gilani. He said the army was not loyal to an individual but to the constitution of Pakistan.
Source(S):The Nation, June 26, 2012
Special Response Force exercise held
General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, witnessed security exercise of Strategic Plans Division. The aim of the exercise was to review the action plans and readiness of Special Response Force (SRF) which was inducted into the armed forces in April this year. The force is trained to handle the security of the Pakistani nuclear assets.
Members of the the Special Response Force are trained at the Strategic Plans Division Training Academy to respond to sabotage or any other forms of threats to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. The force is trained in various safety security aspects, including oversight over technological and human factors. Instructors from Pakistan's elite Special Services Group and a number of other experts in security and crisis management imparted training to this new force.
Source(S):ISPR, July 05, 2012
New Air Vice Marshals
Air Commodores Anis-ur-Rehman, Sohail Ahmed Malik, Ijaz Muhammad Malik, Muhammad Salman were promoted to the post of Air Vice Marshal. Air Commodore Anis has commanded a fighter squadron, a fighter wing and an operational air base. Air Commodore Sohail Ahmed Khan has been a Chief Engineer at JF-17 production and the Managing Director at Aircraft Manufacturing Factory, Kamra. Air ommodore Ijaz Malik has worked on all air defence systems and commanded a sector operation and an air base. Air Commodore Salman has commanded an engineering wing and also been the Managing Director at Mirage Rebuild Factory at PAC Kamra.
Source(s):The Nation, June 29, 2012
PN 97th Officer Commission Passing out Parade
The passing out parade of the 97th officer commission was held at Manora PNS Rahbar. 82 mid-shipmen, 22 Short Service Commission (SSC) officers including 5 foreigners and 3 women officers were commissioned. The guest of honour was Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief Tahir Butt.. Pakistan Navy (PN) Chief Sandila was the special guest at the event.
Source(s):The News, June 30, 2012
Lt. General Zaheer-ul Islam: New ISI Chief
Lt General Zaheer-ul Islam was appointed as the 20th new Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (DG-ISI) on March 18, 2012. He replaced Lt General Shuja Pasha, once a close confidant of Army Chief Parvez Kayani who came under cloud after the Abbottabad raid by US in May 2011 that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Lt General Zaheer-ul Islam comes from a military family in Kahuta (Murre), Rawalpindi district of Punjab. His father retired as a Brigadier and his three brothers, Azharul Islam, Fakhrul Islam and Mazharul Islam along with brother-in-law, Major Ejaz Aziz retired as highly decorated military officers.Zaheer-ul Islam took his commission in the 13 Punjab Infantry after the 55th PMA Long Course on April 16, 1977.
Between 2004-'06, he served as Chief of Staff in the Army Strategic Force Command which is responsible for coordinating the Air Force Strategic Command (AFSC), the Naval Strategic Command (NSC) and all of Pakistan's land based strategic forces.
During 2006-'08, under the Musharraf Regime (1999-2007), Zaheer served as the GOC 12th Infantry Division (Murre). Between 2008-'10, Islam, who was Major General, at the time was appointed as the Director General Internal Security and Counter Intelligence in the ISI and was responsible for maintaining law and order, coordination between law enforcement agencies, supporting counter terrorism operations, keeping a close watch on foreign diplomats and preventing the penetration of extremist elements in the armed forces.
During his stint as the Chief for Internal Security, he was privy to the peace deals with the Taliban in FATA as well as involved in providing security to the Chinese forces in Gilgit.
In October 2010, he was promoted as Lt. General and took over as the Karachi Corps Commander. As V Corps Commander, Islam played a key role in controlling widespread ethnic and political violence in Karachi. He also played an instrumental role in controlling the violent nationalist movement in Balochistan.
In March '09, he was conferred the Hilal-e-Imtiaz by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. Islam has completed one course at the Army War College at Carlisle, U.S. where he went as Brigadier in 2002-'03.
His appointment as the ISI chief comes at a critical juncture for Pakistan. From a security point of view, the country faces four key challenges- Internal Security, Afghanistan, US-Pak and India. The ISI chief is key to an effective management of all four.
On the internal security front, the ISI chief will have to tackle insurgency in Balochistan and terrorist groups targeting the security forces and the state on the western border areas. There are growing fears of cross-border attacks from Afghanistan. With his vast experience as DG Internal Security, ISI, Lt. Gen. Islam is expected to be pro-active in his approach to containing counter-insurgency and cross-border terrorism. It is believed that his infantry background will help him in planning a strategy to deal with terrorist groups holed up in the tribal areas and in Afghanistan which pose a serious threat to the security forces.
On the external front, Afghanistan and India will remain the two dominant issues for the Army. Although there have a short spring in the bilateral relationship with India, ISI's involvement in sheltering and fostering anti-terrorist groups have been a major stumbling block in making any headway towards a deeper and meaningful relationship. Zaheer-ul Islam's words and actions on Lashkar-e-Tayyeba will be watched closely in New Delhi and Washington.
Perhaps of more interest to the US will be his actions in Afghanistan as the former begins its troop drawdown. Pakistan is a key stakeholder in Afghanistan's stability as well as in facilitating an easy and cheaper withdrawal of men and machinery. ISI's alliance with terrorist groups like the Haqqani Network as well as its relationship with the Taliban will be of critical importance to the international community which wants a sovereign and stable Afghanistan.
Lt. General Islam will also face no less a daunting task at home when the country goes to the next round of elections. ISI has traditionally played a major role in managing the elections and outcome. With growing distrust between the civilian leadership and military, the army will be keen to ensure a civilian leadership in Islamabad which can further its strategic interests-internally as well as externally. ISI is therefore expected to play a key role in the coming elections. There are already clear signs of the agency propping up new leaders against the traditional party leaderships. Islam's challenge will be to manage the elections and at the same time feign innocence of any acts of wrong doing.
If Lt. General Zaheer-ul Islam is able to deal with some of the most contentious challenges facing an ISI chief in the history of Pakistan, he stands a good chance of succeeding General Kayani in November 2013.
Harsh Jain is Research Intern, ORF
(This monitor is prepared by Vinesh Kaushik and Harsh Jain, Research Interns, at Observer Research Foundation.)