A Chronology of COAS Appointments

The five lieutenant generals, who will be senior most on November 29, 2016, the retirement date of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, are Lt Gen Maqsood Ahmad, Lt Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain, Lt Gen Najib Ullah Khan and Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem.COAS

Lt Gen Maqsood Ahmad will be the senior most lieutenant general on November 29. He is currently in USA serving as Military Adviser, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) at the United Nations, New York City. He will be back in Pakistan in August this year after completing his three-year term as military adviser. He has commanded Lahore Corps from January to August 2013. Lt Gen Maqsood has commanded Infantry Division in Murree and was serving in the ISI as one of the directors general before his Lahore posting. Lt Gen Maqsood is due to retire on January 13, 2017.

Lt Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat will be second in the seniority list of lieutenant generals on November 29, 2016. He is currently serving as Chief of General Staff (CGS) in GHQ. Lt Gen Zubair served as Bahawalpur Corps Commander and Director-General of the Strategic Plans Division. He also served as General Officer Commanding, Sialkot. Lt Gen Zubair is due to retire on January 13, 2017.

Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain will be third in the seniority list of lieutenant generals on November 29 this year. Currently, he is chairman, Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) and before that he was Commandant of School of Armour, Nowshera. He also served on important position of vice chief of general staff but hasn’t commanded any corps as yet. He is due to retire on January 13, 2017.

Lt Gen Najib Ullah Khan will be forth in the seniority list of lieutenant generals on November 29. Currently, he is DG Joint Staff (DG JS), JS HQ, Chaklala. Lt Gen Najibullah was formerly General Officer Commanding of Kharian. He has also served as Engineer-in-Chief at the GHQ, director general of Frontier Works Organisation and is from the Engineer Corps. He is due to retire on January 13, 2017.

Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem will be fifth in the seniority list of lieutenant generals on November 29. Currently, he is Corps Commander Multan. He has served on crucially important position of Chief of General Staff during most difficult times from November 2013 to April 2015. He is due to retire on August 8, 2017.

History of democratic governments in Pakistan after enforcement of 1973 Constitution shows that seniority was never a basic principle in appointments of army chiefs except during the second tenure of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had appointed General Tikka Khan as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) by changing the top army slot name from Commander-in-Chief to COAS. General Tikka Khan was earlier superseded by General Gull Hassan when later was made C-n-C. Gull Hassan was ousted after a trial in light with recommendations of Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission report. Tikka Khan served as COAS from March 3, 1972 to March 1, 1976.

Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed General Ziaul Haq as COAS by superseding seven lieutenant generals on March 1, 1976. Those superseded were Lt Gen Muhammad Shariff, Lt Gen Muhammed Akbar Khan, Lt Gen Aftab Ahmed Khan, Lt Gen Azmat Baksh Awan, Lt Gen Agha Ibrahim Akram, Lt Gen Abdul Majeed Malik and Lt Gen Ghulam Jilani Khan.

General Zia who toppled democratic government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and imposed Martial Law in 1977 elevated General Mirza Aslam Baig as a four-star general and vice chief of army staff in March 1987. General Mirza became COAS on August 17, 1988 after the death of General Zia in a plane crash in Bahawalpur.

A few months before retirement date of General Mirza Aslam Baig on June 11, 1991, the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif recommended name of General Asif Nawaz Janjua as the next army chief. Senior most lieutenant general at that time General Shamim Alam Khan was made Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

After sudden death of General Asif Nawaz as a result of a heart attack in January 1993, the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif appointed General Abdul Wahid Kakar as COAS on January 12, 1993. General Kakar held the office till January 12, 1996. Four senior lieutenant generals, Lt Gen Rehm Dil Bhatti, Lt Gen Muhammad Ashraf, Lt Gen Farrakh Khan and Lt Gen Arif Bangash were superseded while appointing General Kakar as COAS.

At the time of retirement of General Kakar, General Jehangir Karamat was senior most lieutenant general and the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto appointed him as COAS on January 12, 1996. He continued to serve on this position till October 7, 1998 when he had to relinquish his office because of his differences with the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif some three months before the end of his term. Other senior generals at the time were Lt Gen Nasir Akhtar, Lt Gen Muhammad Tariq and Lt Gen Javed ashraf Qazi but they all were junior to General Karamat.

After resignation of General Karamat, the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif appointed General Pervez Musharraf as the COAS on October 6, 1998. Nawaz Sharif had preferred Musharraf to his seniors, Lt Gen Ali Quli Khan and Lt Gen Khalid Nawaz Khan. Pervaiz Musharraf toppled democratic government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 and imposed Martial Law. Musharraf was not ready to quit office of COAS but he was forced to do so by the massive lawyers’ movement. He handed over the command of army to General Ashfaq Pervaz Kayani on November 28, 2007. General Kayani was made vice Chief of Army Staff for a few months and had superseded only Lt Gen Khalid Kidwai but the later was already serving on extension. General Kayani was the only COAS in Pak Army history who got an extension from a democratic government. General Ziaul Haq and General Musharraf had given extensions to themselves. General Kayani was given one term extension by the then prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in 2010. General Kayani retired on November 28, 2013. General Kayani and General Ziauddun Butt were only generals of Pak Army who were made army chief after serving as DG-ISI. General Butt however was not allowed to continue after October 12, 1999 Martial Law imposed by General Musharraf.

At the time of retirement of General Kayani in November 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dropped senior most lieutenant General Haroon Hayat, appointed second senior most lieutenant, General Rashid Mehmood as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and appointed third senior most Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif as new COAS who assumed his office on November 29, 2013.

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