Former DG (ISI) could succeed Gen Bajwa as Pakistan Army Chief
After successfully handing over the keys of Kabul to Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of eponymous global terrorist network, former head of Pakistani ISI and now XI Corps Commander at Peshawar Lt Gen Faiz Hameed is in reckoning to succeed his fellow Baloch regiment senior, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, as the next Chief of Pakistan Army in 2022. Gen Bajwa is expected to complete his extraordinary six-year tenure as Pakistan Army Chief in November 2022.
According to Pakistan watchers, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was made Peshawar Corps commander as it is mandatory for contenders of Pakistan Army Chief’s post to have commanded a Corps level formation for at least one year. Gen Hameed has served staff posting at Rawalpindi GHQ after commanding an infantry division at Pano Aqil in Sindh province between 2015-2017. He was the 24th chief of ISI and has now been succeeded by former Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum.
While many a Pakistan Army watchers believe that Gen Bajwa may secure another two-year tenure for himself in November 2022, there is unison that Gen Hameed has been rewarded to the prestigious Peshawar Corps for getting Pakistan a much-required strategic depth in Afghanistan under the proxy Taliban regime. Not only did the ISI provided tactics, arms, ammunition and medical support to the Taliban, it also broke the back of Panjshiri resistance by providing Pakistani commandoes in mufti with military maps and drone surveillance of the area. Today, the Panjshiri resistance is cooling its heels in Dushanbe in Tajikistan with all major powers simply tired of Afghanistan.
As commander of Peshawar Corps, Gen Hameed will be directly in touch with the Miramshah shura of the Taliban, the Haqqania madrassa in Akora Khattak in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and will also be part of negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan. The Corps controls Khyber Pass on Afghanistan-Pakistan border as also keeps an eye on the Wakhan corridor, which juts into Xinjiang.
By having personal access to the entire top Taliban leadership including Defence Minister Mullah Yaqoob and Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, Gen Hameed could play a key role in using the Sunni Pashtun force to push TTP towards a ceasefire with Pakistan Army in light of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s peace overtures.