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Mysterious Bill Gates photo highlights Imran Khan's army crisis

The drama began four months earlier, when army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa appointed Anjum to lead the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, which oversees Pakistan’s internal security.

March 31, 2022 / 07:22 AM IST
Khan, third left, during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad on March 23. Photographer: Ghulam Rasool/AFP/Getty Images

Khan, third left, during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad on March 23. Photographer: Ghulam Rasool/AFP/Getty Images

When Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan released a photo of a luncheon with Bill Gates last month, social media users noticed something odd: The round table contained 13 seats, but only a dozen men.

The vacant space contained a ghost-like figure who appeared to be conversing with others around him, raising questions about whether the image had been doctored. Shortly afterward, local news outlets reported that the country’s new spy chief, Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum, had been erased out of the shot.

The drama began four months earlier, when army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa appointed Anjum to lead the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, which oversees Pakistan’s internal security. Khan then delayed the appointment and publicly voiced support for General Faiz Hameed, widely seen as his ally, to stay in the role. After a standoff lasting several weeks, the army chief got his way.

Pakistan’s civilian leaders have long clashed with the military, which has ruled the country for about half of its history. Yet if anything, Khan has been criticized for being too close to the army since he promised to oversee a “New Pakistan” rid of corruption and favoritism following his 2018 election win.