Retired general to replace Sethi

New Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (r) Asif Yasin Malik

ISLAMABAD: In a major administrative reshuffle, the government has decided to appoint former corps commander Peshawar Lt-Gen (r) Asif Yasin Malik as full time defence secretary, sources said on Thursday.

He would replace Nargis Sethi, who held the additional charge of defence secretary. The notification in this connection is expected to be issued today (Friday). However, Sethi will continue serving as Secretary Cabinet Division, sources said. Similarly, sources said Shafqat Jalil of the Information Group is being appointed as new press secretary to the prime minister.Earlier, there were reports that Nargis Sethi will represent Pakistan at the signing of MoU between Pakistan and the US.

Pakistan and the US are all set to sign the landmark first agreement to regulate the NATO/ISAF land supplies to Afghanistan in line with the recommendations of the Parliament here during the next couple of days. Diplomatic sources privy to the development told Media on Thursday that both sides have approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) drafted by Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence.

“The only question left now is who would sign the document from Pakistan’s side. It is still not known to us whether the Secretary Defence Nargis Sethi or someone from Ministry of Foreign Affairs would sign the document,” a senior US Embassy official said.He said US Charge d’Affaires Richard Hoagland would probably sign the MoU as US representative.Sources in the Foreign Office were still not sure about the format of the MoU signatories from Pakistan, but there are strong indications that powerful Secretary Defence would sign the document on behalf of Government of Pakistan.“Since the document is related to the Ministry of Defence, therefore, there are more chances of Nagir Sethi signing the document,” a source added. – Nation