ISI chief Pasha to get another extension in office, confirms Mukhtar

March 13th, 2011 - 11:37 am ICT by ANI  

Islamabad, Mar 13(ANI): Pakistan’s Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar has confirmed that Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha will get another extension as director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.

Mukhtar stopped short of mentioning the period of the extension being given to General Pasha, but said that the extension is in accordance with the requirement, Geo TV reported.

Already on a year-long extension given to him in March 2010 after reaching the retirement age, General Pasha’s second ‘tenure’ comes to an end on March 18.

However, government sources say that he is likely to get another two years in office as the country faces serious internal and external security challenges.

Despite the fact that it is very rare for a Pakistani army officer to get two extensions, the move will not come as a surprise, given General Pasha’s close association with the Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Military sources said one of the reasons for General Pasha’s close association with General Kayani was that both shared a moderate nationalist view.

“He enjoys the full confidence of the chief and is fully committed to fighting religious extremism and militancy,” the Dawn quoted a senior official, as saying.

However, the case for his extension may also have been strengthened by his ability to get along with Americans. Some analysts contend that with its war in Afghanistan entering a critical phase, the United States would also like to deal with a familiar ISI chief.

The increasing tension between the ISI and the Central Intelligence Agency over the arrest of US official Raymond Davis is believed to have reinforced the thinking that an experienced hand is needed to defuse the situation.

“General Pasha’s familiarity with the issue may be important in dealing with the current tension with the United States,” said Lt-General (retired) Talat Masood. “The grave challenges faced by the country require continuity in the ISI leadership.” (ANI)

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