Sharif Bows To Army, Makes Zamir Defence Secretary

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Islamabad: In a move to placate the military, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appointed retired Lt Gen Zamirul Hassan Shah as the new Defence Secretary.

General Shah assumed office on Thursday, marking an end to what had virtually become a stand-off between the government and the military on the posting, Dawn reported on Friday.

He replaced retired Lt General Alam Khattak, who completed his two-year contract on August 5. General Shah had retired from military service earlier this year. His last posting was adjutant general of Pakistan Army.

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The military had recommended Gen Shah’s name to the government for appointment as the Defence Secretary long before Gen Khattak completed his tenure, the daily said.

The government rejected the nomination and asked the military to nominate some other officer.

“The government had some reservations about General Shah’s nomination,” the Dawn quoted a source in the Prime Minister Office as saying.

The army refused to change the nomination and insisted that General Shah must be appointed, the Dawn said. The government then considered different options including continuing with Major General Abid Nazir as the acting secretary.

But Sharif’s advisers counselled him to avoid straining relations with the military on the issue and accept General Shah’s nomination, it said.