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Pakistan's new ISI chief in saddle

PTI November 07, 2014 19:56 IST

Islamabad: Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, a close confidant of Pakistan's Army Chief, today took over as the new head of the powerful spy agency ISI.  Akhtar assumed charge of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) after the retirement of his predecessor Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam.

Lt Gen Akhtar was promoted as a three-star general and appointed Director General ISI as part of a major reshuffle in the military in September, a development that was seen as consolidating power in the hands of Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif amid political instability in the country.  Akhtar, who joined the army in 1982, is a graduate of the Command and Staff College in Quetta, National Defense 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 DG Rangers, 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.

But the military had later replaced him as DG Rangers Sindh with another senior military officer.

Akhtar is faced with immense challenges as the country is at a critical juncture in its war against terrorism.