ISLAMABAD: The outgoing Intelligence Bureau chief Aftab Sultan had advised the prime minister to write the much-demanded letter to the Swiss authorities and refused to divert secret funds for political purposes, credible sources have revealed.
On the contrary, his replacement, Akhtar Gorchani, is a jiyala whose son, Athar, is a sitting PPP MPA from Rajanpur. Akhtar is probably the most junior police officer appointed as IB chief, an induction that is already causing resentment within the agency. The IB has two joint directors (both in Grade 21) senior to Gorchani.They are Khursheed Anwar Bokhari and Wadood Shah. Bokhari, based in Lahore, office has gone on leave requesting repatriation to Police, a decision he took in protest against the notification of his junior being appointed as the new IB chief. Traditionally, the IB chief is the most senior police officer in BS-22 whereas Gorchani is a junior amongst BS-21 officers and does not even enjoy a good reputation.
The News has learnt names of Akhtar Gorchani and Wajid Durrani whose political loyalty is a public secret were forwarded for appointment as IB chief. Durrani, earlier tipped for the slot, narrowly missed the honour as he had been briefed during which he inquired about the number of vehicles at his disposal and had even started receiving protocol as spy chief.
The News rang several times to the spokesmen of the Prime Minister and sent text messages to get his version but he did not return the call. Sources in the PM House say that the IB had been advising former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to follow the middle path instead of adopting a course of confrontation with the Supreme Court on the question of writing letter to the Swiss authorities.
With Khushnud Lashari, Gilani’s principal secretary, who is brother-in-law of Aftab Sultan, there was reasonable comfort level to have frank conversation on the ways and means to save Gilani from disqualification. Although the PM House official was hesitant in giving details on the options given to Gilani for ending tension with the apex court on the letter issue, he said pursuing that path could have saved Gilani from ouster and without becoming villain in the eyes of party leadership.
It was expected that PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf might also be given such advice as was given to the former prime minister. In these circumstances the change of IB chief by the Prime Minister Secretariat has surprised the informed circles in Islamabad.
Aftab Sultan-led IB earned more displeasure of the high-ups by not allowing the use of secret funds for political purposes. The close aides of top leadership who were approached with this request politely declined a number of times, according to the PM House official who has been in touch with the IB.
The PPP government earlier pulled out a whopping sum of Rs500 million from the IB’s secret funds for political gains when Tariq Lodhi headed the agency as acting chief, shortly before the appointment of Dr Shoaib Suddle.
The IB’s decision to only share intelligence with the PM was yet another source of tension leading to Aftab’s removal. The IB falls under direct control of the PM. PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf tried to resist efforts relating the appointment of both Gorchani and Durrani, according to PM House sources.
In a damage control exercise, the prime minister offered the slot to Dr Shoaib Suddle, an officer of impeccable integrity who served at this position before his appointment as Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO). Although he was promised a tenure posting with all privileges he enjoys as FTO, Suddle declined the offer, advising that Aftab should be allowed to continue, as according to him, he was among the best and most capable officers for the job, a plea that fell on deaf ears, said PM House sources. Gorchani has worked under Dr Suddle in the IB but couldn’t continue for a long time. Until recently, he was working as Karachi police chief after being promoted to BPS-21.