ISLAMABAD â€” Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday, October 2, named Lt General Ashfaq Kiyani, Director General of the country’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to be his successor as army chief.
Kiyani, second on the seniority list of 12 Lt Generals, is generally reputed as a competent, sharp and mature professional.
He is generally known in military circles as one of Musharraf’s most trusted top commanders.
Sources privy to Musharraf had earlier told IslamOnline.net that Kiyani was in the “good book” of America.
Army sources say that being a key strategic and planning aide to Musharraf, he had brighter chances to obtain the key slot to carry on with Pakistan’s close cooperation with Washington in its so-called war on terror.
Kiyani’s was recently involved in the dialogue with former premier Benazir Bhutto for a power-sharing deal.
This is the first time in the history of Pakistan army that an ISI chief has ever been promoted to the post of army chief.
Musharraf vowed to step down as head of the powerful army by November 15, provided that he is re-elected as president-in-uniform.
He has been under growing international and domestic pressure to give up his military role, which he has kept since he grabbed power in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999.
Under an agreement with the six-party religious alliance Muttehida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), he was to shed his military uniform by December 31, 2004.
Musharraf, a former commando, has since refused to honor the agreement and quit the military — which is the main source of his power and whose loyalty has kept Washington onside.
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