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Pakistan Prime Minister Appoints New Spymaster

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visits ISI headquarters in November 2020 accompanied by army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (center) and outgoing ISI head Faiz Hameed (right).

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed a new head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency after weeks of speculation about a rift between civil and military leadership on the issue.

Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum was approved as spymaster after a final consultation between army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Khan, the prime minister’s office said on October 26.

The head of the ISI is one of the most powerful positions in Pakistan, having a role in domestic politics, the fight against militant groups, and foreign policy.

Pakistan, including the ISI, has long been accused of having links with the Taliban in Afghanistan and other militant groups in the region, a charge denied by Islamabad.

Since the Taliban took power of Afghanistan in August, outgoing ISI chief Faiz Hameed has made two known trips to Kabul to meet with representatives of the hard-line Islamist group, including one last week with Pakistan’s foreign minister.

Anjum’s appointment follows weeks of speculation about differences between civil and military powers over the post, speculation that officials have denied.

The new spy chief will take up the post on November 20, the prime minister's office said.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Geo TV, and Dawn