Former XI Corps Commander Appointed Secretary Defence

Government of Pakistan on Friday appointed Lt.Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik as new defence secretary in place of Nargis Sethi who had been given the additional charge of defence ministry’s top bureaucrat in January this year.

Sethi was assigned the job after the dismissal of Lt-Gen (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi at the peak of a civil-military standoff over the infamous memogate affair.

Malik retired from active service last December as commander of the Peshawar-based 11 Corps. While commanding the corps, he oversaw counter-insurgency operations in tribal areas.The new defence secretary, who had attended training courses in the US, will hit the ground running with signing next week a bilateral MoU with the US on transit of cargo.

The MoU was approved by the federal cabinet this week.

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27 SSG Commandos Injured in Road Accident

Risalpur :  Twenty-seven commandos of Pakistan Army Special Services Group (SSG) were injured in a road mishap on Monday. As per details, an over speeding vehicle, carrying the SSG commandos to Attock from Peshawar, overturned in the Aman Garh area of Nowshera on GT Road. As a result, the army commandos sustained severe injuries. While eight of them are stated to be in a critical condition and have been admitted in the Combined Military Hospital. Those who have been severely injured are: Driver Muzammal, Lance Naik Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Imran and Bakht Shad, besides Naik Arif, Ali Raza Khanum and Shahid. Other injured were discharged from the hospital after giving them first aid.

Army Promotion Board: 19 Brigadiers Promoted as Major Generals

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army Promotion Board approved on Friday promotion of 19 brigadiers to the rank of major general, according to an official announcement.

The decision was made at a promotion board meeting, chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

All corps commanders, principal staff officers and senior army officials were also present in the meeting.

According to a statement issued by the ISPR, the names of brigadiers promoted to the rank of major general are Umar Farooq Barki, Shafiq, Musarrat Nawaz, Naseer Ali Khan, M Irshad, Samrez Salik, Akhtar Jamal Rao, Sanaullah, Hafiz Masroor, Nasir Dilawar Shah, Arshad Mehmood, Tariq Haleem Suri, Omar Mahmood Hayat, Rehan Abdul Baqi, Khalid Mehmood, Asif Mumtaz Sukera, Mqabool Ahmed, M Ayyub and Syed M Imran Majeed.

Indian Lieutenant colonel in soup for befriending ISI agent on Facebook

NEW DELHI: In yet another security breach in the military, an Army officer has been caught for establishing contact on social networking site Facebook with a Bangladeshi woman working for Pakistan’s ISI. The woman, in fact, had earlier “honey-trapped” another Indian officer in an ISI espionage operation in Bangladesh late last year.

The Army is conducting a court of inquiry (CoI) against the officer, a lieutenant colonel from the 82 Armoured Regiment deployed in a forward formation in Suratgarh district of Rajasthan, to ascertain whether he divulged or compromised classified operational information along the western front with Pakistan.

The Army strongly denied reports that the lieutenant colonel had also got entangled in a honey trap — basically an intelligence operation for first seducing and then blackmailing a person into divulging confidential information – or that two laptops with sensitive information had gone missing.

“The officer was just chatting online with the woman on the computer … there was no physical contact. No laptops have been lost. We are conducting a CoI into the incident,” a senior officer said.

Intelligence Bureau got wind of the matter as they were already tracking the Bangladeshi woman, identified as Sheeba, after she had honey trapped another Indian lieutenant colonel, this time a Para Regiment commando, who was undergoing a staff college course in the Bangladesh military academy in Dhaka last year.

“The Para officer was compromised in the ISI honey trap at Dhaka. But instead of giving away any information, he alerted Indian authorities and was promptly flown out of Bangladesh,” an official said.

Other military officers have also been caught in honey traps in recent years. The Navy, for instance, last year sacked Commodore Sukhjinder Singh after his sexually explicit pictures with a Russian woman had surfaced. Singh was posted in Moscow as part of the Indian negotiating team for the acquisition of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (now rechristened INS Vikramaditya), for which India finally agreed to pay $2.33 billion after protracted and bitter negotiations with Russia.

Several military officers are also in the dock for compromising classified information and data through the improper use of internet or social networking websites like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter despite strict guidelines against such conduct.

Five to six officers, for instance, are facing a naval board of inquiry (BoI) after Chinese hackers were recently detected to have broken into sensitive naval computers, in and around Eastern Navy Command HQs at Visakhapatnam, with the help of “worm-infected” pen-drives.

Another BoI in the Mumbai-based Western Navy Command has recommended stringent action, including dismissal from service, against at least two commanders for posting confidential information and data, including location of warships and their patrolling patterns, on Facebook.

Pakistan Army Helicopter Crashes, 5 killed‎

Gilgit: An army helicopter MI-17 crashed near the Skardu airport on Wednesday, killing five officials including the pilot and the co-pilot.

Three people also sustained injuries in the incident however it could not be immediately confirmed if the injured were civilians or military personnel as the ISPR Gilgit office, despite repeated attempts, did not respond to phone calls. “The crash occurred near the Skardu airport during a routine training flight,” ISPR and other sources in Skardu told.

According to ISPR, the three dead, other than the pilots, were aircrew. Sources said that the helicopter caught up fire in the air due to a technical fault before crashing on the ground near the airport. Locals saw the helicopter hovering over the sky during the day. The crash is the second major incident in the past two months after Giyari incident in the Baltistan region where an avalanche buried more than 135 army personnel and civilians.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf have offered condolences over the loss of lives in the incident.

Convocation Ceremony of 25 Air War Course Held at Air War College, Karachi

The convocation ceremony of 25 Air War Course was held at Air War College, PAF Base Faisal Karachi, which was presided over by Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force. The chief guest congratulated the recipients of certificates on successful completion of an important milestone in their career progression.

He expressed confidence that through the knowledge, skills and attitude acquired at the Air War College, the graduating officers would make a profound impact on the combat preparedness of their respective services.

He urged them to further build on this experience through continued quest for knowledge.

Commenting on the strategic environment he said, “New threats have transformed the security environment and warrant changed operational concepts, different sets of skills and level of preparedness. I am confident that Air War College has adequately prepared you for that.”

Earlier, Air Vice Marshal Azher Hasan, Air Officer Commanding, Air War College presented the course report, highlighting the focus on imparting quality professional military education which will cater for the ever changing threat scenarios, both internal and external. The convocation ceremony was attended by many high ranking civil and military officials.-PR

Gayari: Three More Martyrs Recovered

RAWALPINDI: Bodies of three more Shaheed (martyrs) soldiers were recovered from Gayari sector of Siachen on Sunday bringing the total number of bodies recovered so far to 33.

According to a spokesman of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) here, identity of the bodies was under process.

It may be mentioned here that 139 soldiers, including some civilians of 6 Northern Light Infantry Battalion came under a huge snow slide early Saturday morning (April 7) in Gayari sector near Skardu.