ISLAMABAD - The federal government decided on Saturday to appoint Additional Inspector General of Punjab Police, Aftab Sultan, as Director General of Pakistans premier civilian intelligence agency, Intelligence Bureau (IB). The decision of the federal government has surprised many, as Wajid Ali Durrani, former IGP Sindh, was being named as the strong contender for the slot. Establishment Division will shortly issue the notification of IBs new director general. The appointment of the IB DG is very important in view of the upcoming general elections. An official handout issued by the PM Secretariat says that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has approved the posting of Aftab Sultan as the new director general of the bureau. The post of the IB chief has been lying vacant since October 2 when Javed Noor, a grade-22 police officer retired after reaching the age of superannuation. Sultan will be the third consecutive civilian head of the bureau appointed by the present regime after Javed Noor and Dr Shoaib Suddle, as mostly military officers have served it as its heads in the past. Apart from approving the appointment of Aftab Sultan, Premier Gilani has also approved the posting of Wajid Durrani as the Inspector General of National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP). He will replace Zafarullah Khan, a senior police service of Pakistan (PSP) officer. The Establishment Division on Friday through a notification had removed Durrani from the post of IGP Sindh, asking him to report back to the Division. Durrani was being named as new IBs director general due to his closeness to some top stalwarts of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) including President Asif Ali Zardari. However, the Prime Minister did not give his nod to his appointment for this slot because of objections raised by certain quarters, a source in the Establishment Division informed. A summary earlier moved to the PM Secretariat, some weeks ago, was pending with the Prime Minister for the new appointment of director general of Intelligence Bureau. In the summary, IGP Punjab, Javed Iqbal and its subordinate Additional IG Aftab Sultan had been nominated for the slot. Aftab Sultan, PSP officer of grade-21, has for years served in the intelligence wing of police, Special Branch. He has also carried out investigation into the multibillion rupees mega corruption scandal, the Punjab Bank scam, on the directions of the Supreme Court.