Keeping trusted men in key positions at Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar has become vital for Bajwa, notes Rana Banerji, who headed the Pakistan desk at the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency.
In the first big reshuffle of three star generals after his extension last year, Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has chosen to smoothen ruffled feathers and accommodate recently promoted major generals in Corps Commands vacated by retiring Generals.
Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, Punjab, who had continued as Commandant, Staff College, Quetta after his promotion a few months back, now goes as GoC, V Corps, Karachi after Lieutenant General Humayun Aziz retired.
Lieutenant General Muhammad Waseem Ashraf, FFR, is shifted from XII Corps, Quetta to II Corps, Multan, after Lieutenant General Muhammad Naeem Ashraf retired.
Waseem has been a crack operator for long, dealing with the Taliban in the trans-Afghan theatre and the Baloch insurgency.
He will now revert to a more classical military role, in Pakistan's second strike corps.
The new GoC, XII Corps & Southern Command head will be Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, AK Regiment.
He was DG, Military Intelligence earlier and has done a stint as Force Commander, Northern Areas (FCNA).
Lieutenant General Muhammad Abdul Aziz, Artillery, hitherto Military Secretary, goes as the new Corps Commander, IV Corps, Lahore, in place of Lieutenant General Majid Ehsan, who is shifted as Inspector General, Arms at GHQ.
Lieutenant General Khalid Zia, Punjab, is moved from there as GoC, XXX1 Corps, Bahawalpur.
The new Military Secretary is Lieutenant General Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat, FFR, who moves in there from the ISI.
Lieutenant General Syed Mohammad Adnan, Punjab, moves from the Bahawalpur Corps as Inspector General, Training & Evaluation after Lieutenant General Sher Afghan, AK Regiment, retired.
Lieutenant General Muhammad Ali, Artillery, goes as Commander, Army Strategic Forces Command in- charge of field deployment of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, after Lieutenant General Qazi Muhammad Ikram Ahmed retired.
Newly promoted Lieutenant General Asif Ghafoor, FFR, goes as Inspector General, Communication & Information Technology.
The postings of Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz Satti, FFR, currently Vice Chief, General Staff (B) at GHQ, and Lieutenant General Salman Fayyaz Ghani, FFR, Commandant, School of Infantry & Tactics, Quetta, have not yet been announced.
No one has been slotted so far in place of another retiring Lieutenant General, Lieutenant General Bilal Akbar, Chairman, Pakistan Ordinance Factories, Wah.
It may be recalled that Bilal, an erstwhile favourite of Bajwa and his first Chief of General Staff, had fallen out after Bajwa's extension and had been shifted to PoF, Wah.
He was identified among the disgruntled senior lieutenant generals who had received the rough end of Bajwa's stick, like Lieutenant General Sarfraz Sattar, Armoured Corps, now retired, and Lieutenant General Abdullah Dogar, Armoured Corps, currently Chairman, Heavy Industries, Taxila.
Bilal may be phased out quietly now, as and when his successor is designated.
Bajwa has not disturbed his Baloch Regiment favourites already holding Corps Commands in Rawalpindi (Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas) and Peshawar (Lieutenant General Nauman Mehmood), or DG, Inter Services Intelligence, Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, all of whom, along with Lieutenant General Shahid Shamshar Mirza, Chief of General Staff, would be in contention to succeed him, in November, 2022.
One reason for this persistence could be the evolving internal domestic situation arising from the Pakistan Democratic Movement agitation.
Keeping trusted men in key positions at Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar become vital.
By that yardstick, the move of Muhammad Abdul Aziz to Lahore indicates his closeness to Bajwa.
Officers from the Pfiffers (Frontier Force Regiment) have done well in the postings this time.
Lieutenant General Azhar Saleh Abbasi, Armoured Corps, currently Chief of Logistics at GHQ, will retire on April 1, 2021.
Thereafter, 4 lieutenant generals will retire on October 18, 2021.
Aspirants for holding charge of Corps Commands may have to wait till then.
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/ Rediff.com