Pakistan: Ex-general to replace Sartaj Aziz as new NSA

Pakistan is about to appoint a former general as national security advisor, tightening the powerful military’s control over security policy and negotiations with India, officials said Sunday.
Lieutenant general Naseer Khan Janjua.(Photo:
Lieutenant general Naseer Khan Janjua.(Photo:
Published on Oct 19, 2015 09:05 AM IST
Copy Link
Reuters | By, Karachi

Pakistan is set to appoint a former army general as national security advisor, tightening the powerful military’s control over security policy and negotiations with India, officials said Sunday.

Lieutenant general Naseer Khan Janjua, who retired from the military this week, will be appointed national security advisor soon and will accompany Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his trip to the United States next week, one military official and two civilians said.

The post is currently held by Sartaj Aziz, a civilian who is a close ally of Sharif. Aziz also holds the portfolio for foreign affairs.

“The army chief feels that Sartaj Sahib’s attention is divided,” a military source said. “So it has been decided that General Janjua will be appointed the national security adviser and Sartaj Aziz can give his full attention to the foreign office.”

“This is not about the PM conceding to the army chief or the army being a bully, not at all. This is about both sides deciding together.”

A military spokesman declined to comment.

Sharif has had rocky relations with Pakistan’s powerful military, who deposed him in a 1999 coup during a previous term as prime minister.

He swept into office again in 2013 vowing to improve relations between Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed rivals who have fought three wars since becoming separate nations in 1947.

Cooling relations

But many in the military remain deeply suspicious of India, and Sharif has had to reign in his ambitions. Domestic political protests last year forced him to rely more heavily on the military for stability, and India elected hawkish nationalist Narendra Modi as prime minister.

“The army had advised the PM against engaging Modi but he (Sharif) had insisted that he would pursue peace talks,” the official said. “He is very disappointed by Modi’s response and he has realized that perhaps the advice he got then was correct.”

A senior minister in Sharif’s cabinet said the army chief had pushed Janjua’s appointment “for many months,” although Nawaz had preferred to keep his own man, Aziz.

“Now the army chief has convinced the prime minister that the military and the government must ... work together,” the minister said.

Janjua’s appointment follows cooling relations between Pakistan and India, who were due to hold talks in August but cancelled after India said it wanted to limit the scope of the talks to Pakistan’s support for militancy on Indian territory and Pakistan insisted on more wide-ranging discussions.

“General Janjua will go to Afghanistan for talks. He will go to the U.S. And yes, when Pakistan-India (national security advisor) level talks resume, it will be General Janjua at the table,” the military official said.

Two senior government officials said that Janjua was respected for his previous posting in Baluchistan, a poverty-stricken province with a raging separatist insurgency and widespread reports of human rights abuses by security forces.

Before that, Janjua was president of the National Defence University, the military’s higher education institute and premier think-tank on national security matters.

He also worked on ‘Azm-e-Nau,’ a military preparedness exercise that had a particular focus on India.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Shireen Mazari, Pakistan’s former minister for human rights (File Photo)

    Ex-Pak minister Shireen Mazari arrested; kin, party say PTI leader ‘kidnapped’

    According to a <strong>report</strong> in the former miShireen Mazari, Dawn, Pakistan's former minister of human rights in the Imran Khan government which was ousted last monthstody of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE). “Male police officers have beaten and taken my mother away. All I have been told is that Anti Corruption Wing Lahore has taken her,” tweeted Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, Mazari's daughter.

  • Attendees at the the Liberal National coalition party election night event in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, May 21, 2022.&nbsp;

    Australian election: Early vote count indicates close contest

    There was no uniform swing in early counting of votes in Australia's election on Saturday, indicating a close result in a tight race that will decide whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative government can defy odds and rule for a fourth three-year term. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese's center-left Labor Party ended the six-week campaign as a favorite to win its first election since 2007.

  • U.S. President Joe Biden addressing a joint press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at the presidential office in Seoul.

    Biden signs $40 billion for Ukraine assistance during Asia trip

    President Biden on Saturday signed legislation to support Ukraine with another $40 billion in U.S. assistance as the Russian invasion approaches its fourth month. The funding is intended to support Ukraine through September, and it dwarfs an earlier emergency measure that provided $13.6 billion. Biden signed the measure under unusual circumstances. The logistics reflect a sense of urgency around continuing U.S. support for Ukraine, but also the overlapping international challenges facing Biden.

  • India’s high commission in Ottawa has urged Indian students to “obey local laws and avoid swimming or diving in lakes or rivers without life vests and other statutory precautions. (AFP/ REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)

    Indian high commission in Ottawa issues advisory after accidental drowning deaths

    India's high commission in Ottawa on Friday issued an advisory asking Indian students to take precautions during swimming after two tragic incidents in April this year. The advisory, posted on Twitter, said the high commission was “disturbed to see a recent spurt in cases of death due to drowning of Indian students in Canada”. At least two instances of Indian students accidentally drowning have been reported since April this year.

  • Public Health Agency of Canada has said that the disease had never before been found in Canada, but there was “low” cause for concern over the spread of disease. (REUTERS/ REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)

    Confirmed monkeypox cases in Canada rise to five

    Canadian health authorities on Friday confirmed three more cases of monkeypox, bringing the total cases in the country to five, and said several other samples are being examined, while reassuring the public that the viral disease doesn't pose a serious threat as yet. Health Canada said Friday evening it had notified Sante Quebec, the province's health department, that three samples had tested positive for monkeypox.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 21, 2022