ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is about to appoint a former general as national security advisor, tightening the powerful military’s control over security policy and negotiations with arch rival India, officials said Sunday.
Lieutenant General (Retd) 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.