Islamabad, Sep 21 (UNI) Ahead of the retirement of top-ranking officials considered close to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, six Major Generals were today promoted to Lieutenant General, including a key loyalist who takes over as the head of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Lt Gen Nadeem Taj -- currently Director General, Military Intelligence as a two-star general -- will take over as the ISI DG, succeeding Lt Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, who is being considered the frontrunner in the race to take over as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) when Gen Musharraf doffs his uniform.
Gen Taj has been closely associated with Gen Musharraf, having been his Military Secretary at the time of the 1999 coup. Then a Brigadier, he had been travelling along the General in the plane from Colombo, which was denied permission to land at Karachi, triggering off the coup against then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He had also testified in the treason trial against the deposed Prime Minister, making it clear that the coup was not pre-mediated and occured following the instructions to prevent the PIA civilian flight, carrying the Army Chief, from landing.
In the other promotions, Major General Mohsin Kamal, HI, currently the Force Commander, Northern Areas (FCNA), takes over as the GOC of the Rawalpindi-based XI Corps on his promotion, succeeding Lt Gen Tariq Majeed. Gen Kamal is highly-regarded professionally, having held a succession of key command and staff posts, including being the Commandant of the prestigious Staff College at Quetta.
The new posting of Gen Majeed, who had been in overall command of the operation against the radical clerics in the capital's Lal Masjid, has not been announced yet. Interestingly, he had been the DGMI prior to Gen Taj.
Among the other promotees are Major Generals Javed Zia and Jamil Haider, who are to be posted at the General Headquarters, Maj Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar, who will take over as the Director General of the Anti-Narcotics Force and Maj Gen Muhammad Asghar, who will be the Rector of the National University of Sciences and Technology, an ISPR release said.
Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ahsan Saleem Hayat and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General Ehsan ul-Haq are both due to retire early next month.