ISLAMABAD: Two senior officers of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) have emerged as the hot favourites for the top slot of Intelligence Bureau (IB).
Sources told that the names of Fawad Asad Ullah Khan, Dr Suleman Khan, Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak, Rao Sardar Ali Khan and Arif Nawaz Khan have been discussed in a number of meetings, but no name has yet been finalised for the position of Director General (DG).
However, inside sources claimed that Rao Sardar Ali Khan and Arif Nawaz Khan were the two top contenders for the post because of their proximity to Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif.
While Fawad Asad Ullah Khan currently heads the federal region and is positioned as IB Joint Director, Dr Suleman Khan also serves as IB Joint Director in KP, Rao Sardar Ali Khan in Punjab, and Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak looks after the bureau’s academy as IB Commandant Academy. Arif Nawaz Khan is currently serving as Punjab Inspector General Police (IGP).
Sources privy to the developments informed that the Punjab CM and former-PM Nawaz Sharif had also discussed the matter in detail but had not disclosed any name. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government will finalise the name with the approval of Shehbaz Sharif, the sources added.
The government had appointed Aftab Sultan as IB DG in June 2013. He retired from service in BPS 22 in 2014 and was given annual extensions in service twice before being given a two-year extension by Sharif in February 2016.
A media report said Sultan had become one of the trusted confidantes of Sharif and played an active role in ‘managing the situation’ during over 126-day-long sit-in of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in 2014.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Aftab Sultan has equipped the IB with modernised techniques of espionage and surveillance that improved the capabilities of the department. In addition, the bureau has done extensive work on counter-terrorism during the tenure of Sultan.
According to a earlier report, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has not been able to appoint IB DG in place of the recently retired DG Aftab Sultan.
All administrative, financial and operational matters that require the approval of IB DG are presently pending. DG is the final authority of the IB and it is not advisable for a sensitive agency to stay without a DG even for a few hours, let alone days, an official told.