Pakistan Next Army Chief: The ongoing ruckus regarding the appointment of the next army chief in Pakistan may come to an end soon and the government may announce the name of the new army chief in the next few days. While it may be a routine administrative matter in many other countries, the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff in Pakistan is highly debated, especially because of the many hidden powers associated with this powerful post.
According to Article 243(3) of the Constitution, the President appoints the chiefs of the three wings of the army on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister can consult his colleagues for this. The appointment of chiefs of the Navy and the Air Force does not get that much attention, but it is not so in the case of the Chief of the Army Staff. Speculation about the name of the new army chief begins months before the current chief’s term ends.
When is General Qamar Javed Bajwa retiring?
In the present case, 61-year-old General Qamar Javed Bajwa is due to retire on November 29, but speculations had started since the beginning of August. who would be his successor. On August 16, Pakistan’s newspaper Dawn carried a story about top generals, one of whom was to replace General Bajwa, while the other was to get the post of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS).
< p style ="text-align: justify;">A brief description of the top five generals of the army is as follows:
Lieutenant General Asim Munir: He is the senior most. His four-year term as Lieutenant General will end on November 27, two days before Gen Bajwa’s retirement. He is in the race as the decision for the army chief will be taken before his retirement. On appointment, he will get an extension of three years in service.
Lt Gen Munir was commissioned into the Frontier Force Regiment and has been a close aide of the outgoing COAS ever since he took command of the force as a brigadier under Gen Bajwa. General Bajwa was the commander of X Corps at that time.
He was later appointed the chief of military intelligence in early 2017 and was made the ISI chief in October the following year. However, his tenure as top intelligence officer proved to be the shortest ever, as he was replaced within eight months by Lieutenant-General Faiz Hamid at the insistence of the then Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza: He is the senior most among the other four candidates from the same batch. He belongs to the Sindh Regiment. He came into limelight as Director General Military Operations (DGMO) during the last two years of General Raheel Sharif’s tenure as the COAS from 2013-16. In that role, he was part of General Sharif’s core team at GHQ, which oversaw military operations against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militants in North Waziristan.
He has served as the Chief of the General Staff, and in that role he was closely involved in making important decisions related to national security and foreign affairs. In October 2021, he was posted as Corps Commander Rawalpindi , to enable them to gain operational experience and be considered for top positions.
According to Dawn newspaper, a military source commented on him saying that he is a clear front-runner for either of the two posts of COAS and CJCSC. Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas: He is the most experienced of the current top military officers in India’s affairs. Currently, he is the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), effectively running the military with direct supervision of both the Directorate of Operations and Intelligence at GHQ.
Earlier, he commanded the Rawalpindi-based but Kashmir-centric and politically important X Corps, which shows that he enjoys the full confidence of the current army chief. It was during his tenure as the commander of the X Corps that the Indian and Pakistani armies agreed to respect the 2003 ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC). He also commanded the 12th Infantry Division at Muri, where he was responsible for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Lieutenant General Nauman Ahmed: He comes from the Baloch Regiment. He is currently the President of the National Defense University. He also has wide experience of working as Chief Instructor at Command and Staff College, Quetta. He has served as Director General (Analysis) in ISI and played a key role in foreign policy analysis from the point of view of national security. In December 2019, he was sent to the XI Corps based in Peshawar. From there, he commanded security along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and manned the barricades when the US withdrew.
Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid: He also belongs to the Baloch Regiment and is one of the most widely discussed contenders among the contestants for the top post. Gen Bajwa and Lt Gen Hamid have reportedly known each other for a long time. As a brigadier, Lt Gen Hamid served as the Chief of Staff of X Corps under Gen Bajwa, who was then commanding the Corps.
Soon after his promotion as Army Chief, General Bajwa appointed him as the Director General (Counter-Intelligence) in the ISI, where he was responsible not only for internal security but also for political affairs. Towards the end of his tenure as head of the ISI, he Imran Khan became the center of a dispute between the COAS and the COAS, as Bajwa had decided to appoint him as the Peshawar Corps commander and Imran was not ready to let him go. He was eventually posted to Peshawar, where he served for less than a year before being transferred to the Bahawalpur Corps.
What do political analysts say?
Some political analysts say that his tenure as the ISI chief during the previous government’s tenure as ISI chief for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership The highly publicized nature of the role may make it difficult, if not impossible, to be considered for the post of the next COAS. According to official indications, a new chief is to be nominated soon. By convention, the General Headquarters (GHQ) through the Ministry of Defense sends a list of four to five senior-most lieutenant-generals to the Prime Minister, who is the final authority for decision-making.
Why is the post of general important to Pakistan?
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed five army chiefs during his three terms. The irony is that he had bad rapport with almost everyone. General Pervez Musharraf toppled the Sharif government in 1999, while General Bajwa was disqualified and jailed during his tenure. Bajwa was also chosen by Sharif. This is the first appointment to be made by his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif for the army chief. However, many believe he will follow the advice given by his elder brother, with whom he consulted in London earlier this month.