Occupation: Director-General of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 0
Ahmad Shuja Pasha's role at the helm of Pakistan's shadowy intelligence agency will loom large this year as the country's leadership attempts to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table. A wing of the military, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was instrumental in bringing the Taliban to power in neighboring Afghanistan in the 1990s in order to ensure a friendly government. Now Pasha says the ISI is the only organization that can bring the wayward Taliban to heel. Military chief Parvez Kayani, who was named one of TIME's 100 most influential people in 2009, may have the brawn, but it is Pasha who wields the brain. The only question is in whose interest, exactly, he is working.