Aware of simmering dissensions within the top echelons of the army, Munir has moved slowly in reshuffling senior generals, observes Rana Banerji, who headed the Pakistan desk at RA&W, India's external intelligence agency.
Lieutenant General Raja Nauman Mehmood, Baloch Regiment, bowed out from the Pakistan army at April month end after a stellar career, which pinnacled as the 35th president of the National Defence University, Rawalpindi.
He also served as XI Corps Commander, Peshawar, and as deputy director general (analysis) in the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate.
In contention briefly as one of the contenders for the slot of army chief during the turbulent weeks preceding General Asim Munir's selection, he preferred to fade out quietly and in a non-controversial manner while two of his other peers, Lieutenant Generals Azhar Abbas and Faiz Hameed, went out protesting with premature retirements.
He is succeeded at the NDU by Major General Rahat Naseem Khan, Frontier Force Regiment, now promoted as a lieutenant general.
Rahat was serving as chief instructor at the NDU since 2021, before when he served as inspector general, Frontier Corps, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Commissioned in September 1990 (82nd Pakistan Military Academy), Rahat served earlier in Malir cantonment, Karachi, later as chief of staff at II Corps, Multan.
He did several instructor commands, at Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, the School of Armour and Mechanised Warfare, Nowshera and at the Command and Staff College, Quetta.
He held brigade assignments in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency, also doing a stint in the Indus Sector of Force Command Northern Areas.
He has done a staff assignment at the vice chief of army staff's office in general headquarters.
He worked also in the United Nations Peace keeping mission in Bosnia in 1995-1996.
He commanded an infantry division in Bahawalpur (26th Mechanised or 35th Infantry?) before moving as inspector general, Frontier Corps, Peshawar.
After the elevation as lieutenant general last November, of Major General Muhammad Shahbaz Khan, Artillery, sword of honour from the 82nd PMA course, currently commander, Army Strategic Forces Command, Rawalpindi, Rahat was near the top of the seniority list of major generals due for promotion.
He appears to have superseded Majpr General Asad Nawaz, Sindh regiment, currently director general, Military Training at GHq.
Aware of simmering dissensions within the top echelons of the army in the controversial build up to General Qamar Javed Bajwa's eventual retirement, Munir has been moving slowly in reshuffling senior generals.
He was saddled with a dozen new lieutenant generals, promoted and posted by his predecessor just before his own elevation as army chief in November 2022.
This tied his hands somewhat, as he would like to leave them at their posts for at least one year.
The Rahat Nasem Khan promotion sets the ball rolling for bringing in his own men at the three star level.
The next big round of retirements of lieutenant generals will be in September 2023, when he will promote and post 4-5 lieutenant generals.
This will entrench him as army chief and he could be more assertive thereafter, as key positions will be held by those promoted and posted by him.
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com