How Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa deals with the ensuing reshuffle of lieutenant generals would be interesting to watch, notes Rana Banerji, who headed the Pakistan desk at the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency.
In promoting six major generals, Pakistan's Army Promotion Board appears to have gone by the book, giving due weightage to professional capabilities and important assignments held.
Those promoted include 2 from the Artillery, 4 Infantry officers, 3 from the Pfiffers (Frontier Force Regiment) and 1 from the Azad Kashmir Regiment.
They will replace six lieutenant generals retiring on December 10, of whom 3 are from Artillery, 1 each from the Armoured Corps and Engineers, and 1 from the Azad Kashmir Regiment.
The distribution of 28 posts of lieutenant generals would now reflect a more normal balance, with 4 from Armoured Corps, 6 from Artillery, 1 each from Engineers and Air Defence, and 16 Infantry officers (4 from Punjab Regiment, 2 Sind Regiment, 6 from Pfiffers, 3 Baloch and 1 AJK Regiment.
Among those promoted, Major General Muhammad Ali, Artillery, was Commandant, Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.
< Major General Akhtar Nawaz Satti, FFR was Vice Chief of General Staff (B), GS Branch at GHQ. He too had previously been Commandant at Kakul.
Major General Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat, FFR, is promoted after a long stint in an undisclosed assignment, possibly in the Inter Services Intelligence.
Major General Salman Fayyaz Ghani, FFR was Commandant, School of Infantry & Tactics, Quetta. Major General Asif Ghafoor, Artiller, was GoC, 40 Div Okara and before then, a high profile director general, Inter Services Public Relations.
Major General Sarfraz Ali, AK Regiment, was Director General, Military Intelligence. He may now be a contender if the post of DG, ISI falls vacant.
How Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa deals with the ensuing reshuffle of lieutenant generals would be interesting to watch. Apart from slotting those newly promoted, two Corps Commands, at Multan and Karachi would require to be filled.
The former usually goes to an Armoured Corps officer. Of the current crop of 4 Armoured Corps Lieutenant Generals, 3 have already done Corps Commands or are holding important charges (Mangla, & Strategic Plans Division), while one has been sidelined by General Bajwa on alleged corruption charges.
Among those who would be keen to do a Corps Command now, so as to be eligible for the army chief's post in November 2022 are Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, who would be the senior most when General Bajwa retires, and Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid, currently a high profile DG, ISI, who is considered to be quite close to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com