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Pakistan appoints new ISI chief, 5 army commanders

Islamabad: Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar was Monday appointed the new chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence in commander-level promotions announced Monday in the country's powerful army.

The announcement was made on Twitter by Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, director general of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Dawn online reported.

In other promotions, Maj Gen Hilal Hussain has been promoted Corps Commander Mangla, Ghayur Mahmood Corps Commander Gujranwala, Navid Mukhtar Corps Commander Karachi, Hidayat Ur Rehman Corps Commander Peshawar, and Nazir Butt incharge of Communications and Information Technology (C&IT), Bajwa announced over Twitter.

The announcement comes as current ISI chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam and five other lieutenant generals are scheduled to retire from service in the first week of October.

The military officers retiring in October include Mangla corps commander Lt. Gen. Tariq Khan, Gujranwala corps commander Lt. Gen. Saleem Nawaz, Peshawar corps commander Lt. Gen. Khalid Rabbani and Karachi corps commander Lt. Gen. Sajjad Ghani.

The chief of the ISI is regarded as the army's most important official after the army chief himself.

The ISI chief is appointed by the prime minister, traditionally on the advice of the army chief.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave approval to the promotions on the recommendation of the Pakistan Army Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif.

Lt. Gen. Akhtar is a graduate of the Command and Staff College in Quetta, National Defence University and the Army War College, US.

He is from the Frontier Force Regiment and commanded an infantry brigade and infantry division in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Lt. Gen. Akhtar is also considered to have extensive experience of counter-insurgency from a previous posting in the border region of South Waziristan.

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