Pakistan’s new Army chief General Asim Munir has made his first major reshuffle and made a surprise pick — an engineer — to lead the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)– the Army’s media wing, according to a media report on Friday.
Major General Ahmed Sharif from the corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) has been appointed as the new director general of ISPR replacing Lt Gen Babar Iftikhar, the Dawn newspaper reported.
However, the ISPR has not officially confirmed Gen Sharif’s appointment. The appointment of an engineer as ISPR chief is not unprecedented, although Maj Gen Sharif will be the first officer from the EME Corps to take up the mantle.
Earlier in 1991, Maj Gen Jehangir Nasrullah from the corps of engineers served in this position. Gen Sharif was previously heading the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DESTO) — a secretive organisation engaged in scientific and technical research and the development of weapons systems in the disciplines of aerodynamics, propulsion and propellants, and avionics.
Gen Iftikhar has reportedly also served in the Military Operations directorate. The change was on the cards as the ISPR DG’s position is for an officer of major general or two-star rank and Lt Gen Iftikhar was promoted to the rank of three-star general last month.
It is being reported that Lt Gen Iftikhar will now head to Karachi after being posted as V Corps commander, replacing Lt Gen Mohammad Saeed.
The appointment of the new ISPR DG is being viewed with great interest as many took it as a signal that the new army chief could bring major changes in the functioning of the military’s media wing.