ISLAMABAD - The newly-appointed director general of country’s premier intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam assumed charge of his office on Sunday amid challenges threatening the national security.

He has replaced Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha who retired on March 18. Pasha was reluctant to accept offer of another extension in his service.

The 56-year old General Zaheer was picked up by the prime minister for this important post from a three-member panel recommended by the Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Zaheer has previously been serving as the Corps Commander Karachi and GOC Murree. He was honoured with Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Pakistan Army.

General Pasha declined the offer for another extension after the leadership of main opposition party PML-N raised allegations that he had mentor and groomed Imran Khan to place his PTI as a third major political force in the country.

In a related development, Pakistan Air Force is set to hold an impressive handing and taking over ceremony today (Monday) here at the Air Headquarters. The outgoing Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman will hand over the command to the new Air Chief, Air Marshal Tahir Raqfique Butt. Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman retired from his service on March 18.