In a move that indicates the ruling Awami League dispensation’s electoral objectives, the Sheikh Hasina government on September 18 extended the service of National Security Intelligence (NSI) chief Major General T M Jobair till April 2024.
Major General Jobair has been serving as the NSI director general, which is under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office, since 2018 and is said to “enjoy the confidence” of the Awami League’s top leadership.
The September 18 order issued by the Armed Forces Division of the PMO, with a copy to the the Defence Ministry, states that Major General Jobair’s tenure as DG NSI was being extended in “public interest” for a period of six months till April 6, 2024.
Bangladesh government sources said that the six month extension indicated the Awami League government’s “confidence” in returning to power for a fourth term. The election process must be completed by January 2024 under normal circumstances.
Maj Gen Jobair was hand-picked by Sheikh Hasina in 2018. The highwater mark in his career was in 2011 when, as an NSI director, he probed cases relatd to the then Awami League government’s “war on terror”. He is also credited with identifying the Hizb-ut-Tahir as the largest and most organised terror outfits in South Asia.
He was subsequently sent on a foreign “diplomatic” assignment as counsellor at the Bangladesh High Commission in the UK. After a three-year stint at the Bangladesh mission in London, Maj Gen Jobair was promoted to take charge as DG NSI on July 31, 2018, replacing Maj Gen Shamsul Haque.
At that time, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Public Administration transferred him out of the army to the NSI. As head of NSI, Maj Gen Jobair inaugurated the newly constructed headquarters of Bangladesh’s premier internal intelligence agency in April 2021. The new building was inaugurated by Sheikh Hasina.
Maj Gen Jobair has previously been the director of Bangladesh’s Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Bureau (CTIB), an NSI deputy director, a commander of the 6th Independent Air Defence Artillery Brigade and commandant of the School of Military Intelligence.