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Ahmad Shuja Pasha

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Preceded by  Nadeem Taj
Allegiance  Pakistan
Succeeded by  Zaheer-ul-Islam
President  Pervez Musharraf
Years of service  1974–2012
Unit  Frontier Force Regiment
Preceded by  Maj Gen Mohsin Kamal
Name  Ahmad Pasha
Service/branch  Pakistan Army
Nickname(s)  General Pasha
Awards  Hilal-i-Imtiaz

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Born  18 March 1952 (age 63) Sialkot, Punjab Province, West-Pakistan (1952-03-18)
Battles and wars  Sierra Leone Civil War, War in North-West Pakistan
Similar People  Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Nadeem Taj, Michael Mullen, Pervez Musharraf, Asif Ali Zardari

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Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha (Urdu: احمد شجاع پاشا‎), HI(M) (born March 18,1952) was the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the main intelligence service of Pakistan from October 2008 until March 2012. He was due to reach the age of superannuation on March 18, 2010 but received an extension of one year. and retired in March 2012. Pasha has been replaced by Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam. In 2011, Ahmad Shuja Pasha was named as one of the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine.


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Army career

Pasha joined the 49th Long Course at Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Frontier Force Regiment, in 1974. He has commanded an infantry battalion, a mechanized infantry brigade and has served as the Chief Instructor of the Command and Staff College of the Pakistani Army. From 2001 to 2002, Lt. General Pasha served as a Contingent and Sector Commander of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone.

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Pasha was promoted to Major General on January 5 2003, and posted as GOC 8th Infantry Division in Sialkot. In April 2005, he was appointed the Commandant of the Command and Staff College in Quetta. From April 2006 to October 2008, Pasha served as the Director General of Military Operations at the Army headquarters overseeing all military engagements in Waziristan, Swat and other tribal areas.

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In October 2007, he was selected as the Military Adviser to the Secretary-General of United Nations. However, due to his commitments as DGMO he did not join the United Nations.

ISI appointment (2008–2012)

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The newly elected civilian government of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani tried for two months to gain control of the appointment for the director of the ISI as well as place the agency under the administrative, financial, and operational control of the Interior Ministry. However, the attempt failed when the Chief of Army Staff, General Kayani appointed Pasha on September 29,2008. Pasha’s prior post was responsible for planning operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces of Pakistan, signaling a reorientation from the ISI's traditional Kashmir and India focus. The United States Government had pressured Pakistan to replace Lieutenant-General Nadeem Taj, the then incumbent chief of the ISI, whom they claimed to have been "double dealing" with militants with a more acceptable candidate like Pasha. Additionally, Pasha’s appointment was part of a wider Chief of Army Staff reappointment shake-up that solidified General Kayani’s loyalty among the military as all prior appointees were done by former President and Chief of the Army Pervez Musharraf.

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Pasha retired as Director General, ISI on March 18, 2012 and was succeeded by Lt. General Zaheerul Islam.

2008 Mumbai attacks

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In the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Indian media reported that President Asif Ali Zardari had instructed Pasha to go to India to share intelligence after a request from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which would have constituted the first time a head of the ISI traveling to help the investigation of a terrorist attack. Under pressure from the Pakistan military, the decision was however reversed within a few hours.

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In September 2009, he made another public outreach towards India by attending an Iftar party hosted by the then Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan.

The Memorandum Affair

Lt. General Pasha was involved in the Memogate controversy of 2011–2012, in which an American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz alleged that a senior Pakistani diplomat, former Amb. Husain Haqqani, had asked him to deliver an unsigned memorandum to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time. The memorandum sought help from the Obama administration in the wake of the Abbottabad raid during which U.S. Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden. It asked the United States to help avert a military takeover of the civilian government in Pakistan, as well as assistance in executing a Washington insider takeover of the government and military apparatus of Pakistan.

On October 10, 2011, the London Financial Times published an article in which the existence of the memorandum was disclosed, arguing that Pakistan's intelligence services were responsible for fueling Jihadist insurgency in the country. On October 22, 2011, Pasha met Ijaz at the London Intercontinental hotel. The meeting lasted 4 hours, and started a chain of events that ended in a Supreme Court investigation of the Memorandum's origins, authenticity and purpose.

During the London meeting, Pasha was presented with evidence in the form of BlackBerry handset exchanges, written notes and call logs that pointed to the involvement of the senior Pakistani diplomat in the matter. Haqqani continues to deny any involvement with the Memorandum till date.

On April 5, 2012, Pasha agreed to appear before the Judicial Commission constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to examine the available evidence in the memorandum affair. He testified that during the meeting in London, he was shown the same evidence as had appeared during the course of the previous three months of hearings and that he believed the evidence to be factual and authentic. He did not waver in his stance about the purpose, origin or authenticity of the memorandum.

In June 2012, the Judicial Commission released its final conclusions and found that the alleged memorandum was authentic and that former ambassador Husain Haqqani was its "originator and architect". The report said he had in fact sought American support through the memo and wanted to head a new national security team in Pakistan. The report also stated that Haqqani was not loyal to Pakistan as he had left the country, had no material assets in Pakistan and was now living abroad. The Supreme Court, upon hearing the report in session, ordered the former ambassador to appear before the bench. The process of repatriating Haqqani to Pakistan for his appearance in front of the high court continues to the present day.


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