ISI Heroes & Heroines of Pakistan Intelligence – General Rizwan Akhtar,The New Chief








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Pakistan appoints Rizwan Akhtar to head intelligence agency

Close ally of army chief named as director general of the ISI, which has helped bring down governments in the past
Rizwan Akhtar
Rizwan Akhtar, who has been named as the new head of the ISI. 

A seasoned soldier who has battled Militants and criminal gangs in one of the world’s largest cities is to become head of Pakistan’s famous military intelligence agency, it was announced on Monday.

Akhtar is reported to be a close ally of Raheel Sharif, the army chief appointed last year, who in turn is said to have a warm relationship with the prime minister.

His appointment as director general of the ISI, along with the promotion of five other generals, means many of the old guard associated with long tenure of former army chief General Ashfaq Kayani have now left. 

“He’s no longer like a new CEO of an old company with a lot of heavyweight executives sitting around,” said political analyst Talat Hussain. “And it means the distance between the army and civilian government on how to pursue national interests is going to shrink.”

The director general of the ISI is widely regarded as being among the most powerful people in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state struggling to deal with the challenge of radical mullas.

The organisation has been accused of backing militants in proxy wars against neighbouring India and Afghanistan, as well as meddling in Pakistan’s domestic politics.

But many Pakistan watchers have argued that in recent years a new consensus has been forming within military circles, which increasingly see the fight against domestic terrorism as more important to the country’s survival than its traditional efforts to dominate Afghanistan and protect against the perceived threat from longstanding enemy India.

In a 2008 dissertation written while studying at the US Army War College Akhtar said Pakistan’s most important strategic challenge was to “aggressively pursue rapprochement with India”. He also said the role of Pakistan’s army, which has either directly or indirectly ruled the country for most of its history, “should be limited to ensuring the nation’s security from external threats and in waging war against terrorists.”

His move to the ISI next month comes after more than a year leading the struggle against Taliban militants and criminal gangs in Karachi, the megacity on Pakistan’s southern coast.

Adding to his background in counter-insurgency he also served in South Waziristan during an operation launched in 2009 against militants who had set themselves up in the tribal agency bordering Afghanistan.

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