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Reclusive new ISI chief urges Pak media not to publish his pictures

Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and ISI Chief Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum (Photo credit : Google Images)

The diktat of the chief of the Pakistani spy agency Inter State Intelligence (ISI), Lt. General Nadeem Anjum that media should not publish his pictures and videos is now all-over the Pakistani media. After taking charge as ISI chief, Anjum directed all agencies “not to release to the media his picture or video footage, made during any official meeting.”

The New ISI chief’s order was a dig at his media savvy Lt General Faiz Hameed, his predecessor, whose pictures and statements were in the media daily. His most iconic picture was that of Serena Hotel in Kabul, where he was seen having tea and giving interviews to foreign journalists on the formation of the Taliban government. Hameed, whose star has since apparently waned, was hailed as the “Kingmaker” of Afghanistan.

Also Read: Will everything be ok for former ISI chief Faiz Hameed? Only Pak army chief Bajwa knows

“He was the most famous ISI chief after Hamid Gul, who is known as the “father of Taliban”. Like Gul, Hameed used to love to be in the limelight, but the new chief wants to do his work without being publicised in the media,” says Pakistani journalist Ihtisham Ul Haq.

Hamid Gul, a protege of former Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq was the chief of ISI in 1980s and responsible for promoting Jihad in Afghanistan and Khalistani militancy in Punjab.

Decades later, Faiz Hameed as the ISI chief followed the same steps.  His name first came to light when he signed a document ending the sit-in of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) at Faizabad in Pakistan. At the time, he was serving as a Major General in the ISI. His photos, videos and news related to him have always been under discussions in the military establishment. After the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August this year, Hameed was always in the headlines—something that was not liked by many Pakistani generals including Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.

"A look at the history of modern intelligence reveals that the most successful intelligence operatives were the ones who avoided publicity, “former ISI chief Lt-Gen (retd) Amjad Shoaib told The News.

Even when Hameed was transferred as the Corps Commander to Peshawar Corp and Nadeem Anjum was appointed as the new ISI chief by Bajwa, the “routine” process turned into a controversy. This happened when Imran Khan refused to let Hameed go, unveiling tensions between the mercurial Prime Minister and the Army Chief.  

It was after a long standoff between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and military leadership, Khan finally had to bow. Nadim Anjum, a Bajwa loyalist took the charge as the new ISI chief.

According to Pakistani journalists close to the establishment, the new spy chief does not value media publicity and is worried that the establishment can be targeted publicly by the opposition as well as the judiciary.

Also Read:  In Pakistan, the widening gap between Imran Khan and Army Chief Bajwa is dangerous for the hybrid regime