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Wanted: U.S.-friendly Pakistani security chief

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

WASHINGTON – Pakistan will be looking to replace retiring Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha as the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, which the United States believes knew of the presence of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. military raid in Abbottabad nearly a year ago

Now, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is looking for a candidate to be appointed by Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani who also has the backing of the powerful Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

Kayani has been critical of the United States not only for continued U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan but also for the U.S. SEAL killing of bin Laden last May without first notifying anyone in Pakistan of the impending operation.

The U.S. was concerned that Pakistani authorities would tip off bin Laden, given Pakistan’s relationship to terrorist groups. Kayani also has been instrumental in cutting off the flow of critical supplies that must go through Pakistan’s Khyber Pass to coalition forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, fighting Pakistan’s creation, the Afghan Taliban, in Afghanistan.

Until now, there has been what B. Raman of the South Asia Analysis Group calls an “undeclared war” between the militaries and intelligence agencies of the U.S. and Pakistan. While Zardari is concerned with this breakdown in relations, there appears to be little he can do about it because of the power and influence of the military and ISI in the Pakistani society.

Such a predicament also underscores the weakness of Pakistan’s civilian leadership. Since Pasha will be departing as head of the ISI shortly, there is some hope to try and reverse the strain in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship as Gilani prepares to make his next appointment. But the question remains over who will be the candidate.

Until now, appointments have had the backing of the military. Those ISI director-generals who didn’t have the blessing of the chief of the army staff, or COAS, also lacked the military’s backing, thereby placing their support behind the directors-general of military intelligence over which the COAS could assert control.

The civilian leadership now is looking at non-military and retired military officers to be the new ISI chief to replace Pasha. There reportedly are at least four serious candidates under consideration: Corps Commander Lahore Lt. Gen. Rashid, Corps Commander Karachi Lt. Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam, deputy Director General for the ISI Maj. Gen. Asfandyar Pataudi and the Director-General Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Noshad Kayani.

The U.S. and the Pakistani civilian leadership are said to favor Pataudi, considered to have a reputation “as a liberal and clean officer,” according to Raman. However, he isn’t considered to be the favorite of chief of the army staff Kayani, who is closer to some of the other candidates.

A civilian has been all but ruled out, since it would further provoke the animosity between the army and civilian leadership. In looking at other retired officers, Maj. Gen. Mahjmud Ali Durrani, who was the National Security Adviser to Gilani, is actively being considered. He is said to have the confidence not only of the civilian leadership and army officers who are supporters of former general and President Pervez Musharraf, but also of the U.S.

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