Rizwan Akhtar is the new spymaster

  • PM approves promotion of six major generals to rank of lieutenant general on COAS’s recommendation
  • Gen Akhtar led Karachi operation against criminal gangs and Taliban militants as head of Sindh Rangers
  • New ISI DG is also considered to have extensive experience of counter-insurgency from a previous posting in South Waziristan


Pakistan Army’s Major General Rizwan Akhtar was Monday promoted as a three-star general and appointed as the new head of the country’s top spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as part of a major reshuffle in the military – a development that would help Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif in consolidating his powers amid political instability in the country.
Moreover, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asim Bajwa’s tweet, five other major generals have also been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, following which Hidayatur Rehman has been posted to Peshawar Corps, Navid Mukhtar to Karachi Corps, Hilal Hussain to Mangla Corps, Ghayur Mahmood to Gujranwala Corps and Nazir Butt has been made chief of Communication and Information Technology at the Headquarters.
Lt Gen Akhtar will take charge in the first week of November, almost a month after the current ISI DG Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam retires along with four other lieutenant generals.
Those retiring are 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 appointments were announced after COAS Gen Sharif held a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Prime Minister House Monday and took him into confidence over the latest promotions and postings, particularly the appointment of Gen Akhtar as ISI DG.
The army chief brought with him the appointment file of the new ISI DG and after long deliberations, the premier gave approval to the name of Major Gen Rizwan Akhtar as the new spymaster. It is said that the new spymaster enjoys a good working relationship with the COAS.
Under the rule, the DG ISI reports directly to the premier and even legally otherwise, the ISI chief is appointed by the prime minister on the advice of the army chief, but the former can seldom have his will. Usually the army chief sends a name as a formality to the prime minister, who has to approve it.
Earlier, it was reported that Maj Gen Naveed Mukhtar was also in the running for the top spy job.
Akhtar is a graduate of the Command and Staff College in Quetta, National Defence University and the Army War College, USA. He is from the Frontier Force Regiment and commanded the infantry brigade and infantry division in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Previously as Sindh Rangers DG, Maj Gen Akhtar had been assigned with the task to lead the Karachi operation. As head of the paramilitary Rangers force in Karachi, he launched a major operation against criminal gangs and Taliban militants.
However, the military had later replaced him as Rangers Sindh DG with another senior military officer.
Akhtar is also considered to have extensive experience of counter-insurgency from a previous posting in the border region of South Waziristan. “He has served in a place like Karachi while remaining neutral and apolitical and has extensive experience of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism. He was the obvious choice,” said a serving military official.
“He is a professional soldier who has experience of both FATA and internal security in Karachi,” an army official said.
Major General Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain is presently DG Military Training at GHQ. He was commissioned in Artillery in Sept 1982. He is a graduate of Command and Staff College Quetta, Australia and NDU Islamabad. He has been Military Advisor to Pakistan Permanent Representative in UN and Military Secretary to President of Pakistan. He commanded an Infantry brigade in FATA and also served as Punjab Rangers DG.
Major General Ghayur Mahmood was commissioned in Frontier Force regiment in 1982. He is a graduate of Command and Staff Collage Quetta, Kuala Lampur and NDU Islamabad. He has commanded an Infantry Division in FATA. The general officer has also served as inspector General Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). He is presently serving as Vice Chief of the General Staff at General Headquarters.
Major General Nazir Ahmed Butt, presently Commandant Pakistan Military Academy Kakul, was commissioned in Frontier Force regiment in March 1983. He is a graduate of Command and Staff Collage Quetta and NDU Islamabad. He has been Military Secretary to the Prime Minister and Defence Attaché in USA. He has commanded an Infantry Division in FATA.
Major General Naveed Mukhtar was commissioned in Armoured Corps regiment in 1983. He is a graduate of Command and Staff Collage Quetta, NDU Islamabad and War Course USA. He has commanded a Mechanized Division and presently he is serving in ISI Directorate General.
Major General Hidayatur Rehman is presently Chief Instructor at NDU Islamabad. He was commissioned in 1983. He is a graduate of Command and Staff Collage Quetta, NDU Islamabad. He has commanded an Infantry Division.


  1. Congratulations Lt.Gen Rizwan on your appointment as ISI chief. hope you will work for the country and not for NS. You have taken oath to safe gaurd the home land and not the rulers. Now it is your testing time because you has been assigned a seat which needs a neutral man who makes decisions for the country. You must remember that we all human beings are only answerable to Allah. ISI is the best intelligence agency in the world and has always defended the country. We as citizen of Pakistan expect from Lt.Gen Rizwan to stand against all evils to protect the country. May Allah be with you and guide you to right path

    • NS is elected PM of Pakistan by 180 million people. The new ISI chief is a professional person and he will of course follow the guidelines of Govt of Pakistan. But of course he will not do any thing for PTI as other did in the past, so the future of PTI is dark.

  2. We have great expectations from Pakistan Army. This is the most cost effective military organization in the world. In recent years it has delivered best results with minimum cost to the exchequer.

    National Health Service (NHS) in United Kingdom (UK) costs £106 Billion every year. The cost for Pakistan Army is less than $5Billion. Their services not only include effective defense of Pakistan by neutralising internal and external threats but also to provide health and disaster relief.

    Well done and thank you Officers and Jawans of Pakistan Army.

  3. New ISI Chief & all officers/ranks are professional soldiers. They will continue to watch the interests of PAKISTAN. Politicians & religious leaders who are presently involved in conspiracy against Pakistan should not build false hopes from Pak Army. Rather they must give up their plans that have already caused a big financial loss to country besides damaging the image of the country & Pak Army.

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