Islamabad: Ahead of next week’s Indo-Pak Defence Secretary-level talks to discuss troops pullout from Siachen glacier, Pakistan has for the first time named a civilian to the top post in its Defence Ministry.
Pakistan’s Cabinet Division Secretary Kamran Rasul will be the first civilian to take charge as Defence Secretary, a position which was hitherto held by retired military Generals.
Rasul replaces Gen (retd) Tariq Wasim Ghazi, whose term expires on April 3. He was expected to be appointed as the head of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Ghazi took part in several rounds of Defence Secretary-level talks to discuss troops pullout from Siachen and Rasul would head the Pakistani delegation during the next round to be held in the garrison town of Rawalpindi near here on April 6-7.
The change of guard in Pakistan’s Defence Ministry took place as President Pervez Musharraf presided over a high-level meeting on Friday to finalize the country’s strategy for the upcoming talks with India on the Siachen issue.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri, Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan and representatives of the country’s key policy-making institutions were present on the occasion, daily ‘Dawn´ reported today.
The newspaper said “insiders” attached “immense importance” to the Defence Secretary-level talks to resolve the Siachen imbroglio, which will be assisted by their respective directors general of military operations.