ISLAMABAD - Dr Mohammad Suleman Khan has been appointed as the new Director General of Pakistan’s civilian intelligence arm, Intelligence Bureau (IB).

“Dr Suleman Khan, a BS-22 officer of police service of Pakistan, who is serving in Intelligence Bureau, is promoted to BPS-22 in that service with immediate effect. On promotion the officer is transferred and posted as DG IB until further order,” read a notification issued by Qaiser Khan Khattak of Establishment Division on Monday.

Suleman Khan is replacing Aftab Sultan, a retired officer of the police service who headed the agency since June 7, 2013 and retired last month.

He was promoted from basic pay scale 21 to 22 by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last week, and was widely believed to be the choice for the intelligence agency’s top job.

Suleman was currently serving as Joint Director General IB and looking after intelligence affairs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During his time in IB, he got over 1,000 jet black terrorists and criminals with head money arrested. Important cases resolved in his career at IB include attacks on Peshawar Judicial Complex, attack on Islamabad district courts, Wagah border blast and Peshawar Meena Bazaar blast, which involved dozens of foreign terrorists.

The new DG IB, who is also not in good health according to what his colleagues said, has many Herculean tasks ahead of him. He has developed his authority over international proscribed organisations, they added.

“He [worked to destroy] the Daesh’s regional networks before anybody even knew [about] their presence in Pakistan,” one of his colleagues told this correspondent.

Suleman Khan has also been involved in successful operations against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, 313 Brigade, Jamaat ul Ahrar and Al Qaeda in the country, his colleague informed.  As a senior police officer, he has also extended cooperation with the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and security forces as CCPO Peshawar, DIG Mardan and Hazara in KP.

IB senior officials further said that the new DG also served in FIA and perhaps he was a pioneer in establishing the CTD in KP province. It is also said that he has no political alignment. “That’s a good decision [regarding his appointment]. He’s an outstanding officer having astounding successes in CT field. [He is] completely dedicated to his job. [He has] no political alignment and is a thorough professional. It is hoped he takes IB to the next level of modernisation and efficiency,” one of his senior colleagues was quoted as saying by Geo News.

“He uses the most modern tools very effectively for collection of CT intelligence. He established IB-CTD liaison which provided excellent results in counter-terrorism drive,” the colleague said.

Many seasoned analysts, however, believe his new job is tough. The role of civilian agencies has become crucial ahead of the polls, in terms of facilitating the civilian government to deal with multi-pronged challenges ranging from counter-terrorism to dealing with hostile agencies in the country.