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Pakistan's spy chief gets second extension

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 13, IRNA -- Pakistan’ Defence Minister, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Saturday confirmed that the country’s spy chief has got an extension in service.

The chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who has been heading the ISI since September 2008, was due to retire on March 18.

'It is true that the extension is being given' was the brief response of the Defence Minister when reported asked him whether Pasha is being given an extension.

The minister did not say anything about the duration of the extension.

Local media had earlier reported that Pasha is likely to get a two-year extension and now the Defence Minister has confirmed the reports.

'He (Pasha) is being given an extension according to the requirements,' the Defence Minister said when asked if Pasha would serve till 2013.

This is the second extension for the ISI chief who was earlier given a year-long extended tenure. Pasha is considered to be a close confidant of Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Sources say that tenure extension of Pasha's service has been made to ensure the continuity of the army's offensive against extremists in the troubled tribal regions of the country.

During Pasha's tenure as the ISI DG, the Pakistan Army has conducted three major operations in South Waziristan, Bajaur tribal regions and Swat valley in the northwest. Sources said that the government and the army chief were satisfied with the successe of the security forces against the militants under Pasha.

Pasha has served on several key positions including Director General Military Operations

Extension to Pasha was expected as Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani last year announced an unprecedented three-year extension for General Kayani, with an argument that any change will affect the on-going anti-terror war.

The extension came at a time when contacts between the ISI and the CIA are tense over the arrest of U.S. undercover agent Raymond Davis after he killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in late January.

Davis arrest has made startled disclosure that he was a secret CIA mission in Pakistan and now Islamabad is seeking from the CIA details of its agents in Pakistan.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30294703

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