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Pak army chief promotes four major generals

September 12, 2019 08:43 IST

These promotions will allow General Bajwa to shuffle the deck on the top but this is likely to be a limited reshuffle, points out Rana Banerji, who headed the Pakistan desk at the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency.

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan with army chief General Bajwa

IMAGE: Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, right, with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Promotions of four major generals to three star rank were announced on September, 11, 2019.

They are Major General Chiragh Haider, Frontier Force Regiment, currently director general, military training, Major General Mohammad Aamer Nadeem, EME, chairman, space and upper atmosphere research organisation (SUPARCO), Major General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum, Punjab, currently commandant, staff college, Quetta and Major General Khalid Zia, Frontier Force Regiment, currently, GOC 33 Infantry Div, Quetta.

 

They will replace three lieutenant generals who retire on September 23, 2019.

These include Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa, Punjab Regiment, presently Corps Commander, XII Corps, Quetta/Southern Command, Lieutenant General Sadiq Ali, Armoured Corps, presently, chairmsn, Pakistan ordnance factories, Wah and Lieutenant General Aamer Riaz, Frontier Force Regiment, currently president, national defence university, Islamabad..

The distribution among major arms of the 27 posts of lieutenant general before these retirements was 6 from armoured corps, 5 from artillery, 13 from infantry {4 from Frontier Force Regiment, 3 each from the Baloch and Punjab Regiments, 2 from the Sind Regiment, 1 from the Azad Kashmir Regiment}, 2 from engineers and 1 from air defence.

With these four promotions, the strength of lieutenant generals will be 28, with 5 from armoured corps, 5 from artillery, 14 from infantry (4 FFR, 4 Punjab, 3 Baloch, 2 Sind, 1 AK Regiment), 2 from engineers, one each from air defence and EME.

These promotions indicate that army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has gone by the professional recommendations of the army promotion board.

One of his favourites, Major General Asif Ghafoor, artillery, who has been holding the high profile post of director general, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and was widely expected to make it to three star rank, has missed out despite being fairly senior in the list of eligible major generals.

Two of those promoted are junior to him.

Among those who retire, Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa bids adieu as corps commander, XII Corps, Quetta.

He had a very successful career, remaining in the good books of three successive chiefs -- Generals Kayani, Raheel Sharif and now, Qamar Javed Bajwa.

As director general, ISPR, Asim Bajwa was used by Raheel Sharif to build a cult status for himself.

Never before had a DG, ISPR been elevated to the rank of a lieutenant general.

The media blitzkrieg to glorify Raheel drew adverse flak from serving and retired generals, albeit only after his retirement.

Retiring Lieutenant General Sadiq Ali, armoured corps, was corps commander earlier at IV Corps, Lahore.

Lieutenant General Aamer Riaz was director general, military operations in August 2013.

Lieutenant General Aamer Riaz did two corps commands, XII Corps, Quetta (2015-2017) and IV Corps, Lahore (2017-18).

His last stint at NDU was a comparative sinecure.

These promotions will allow General Bajwa to shuffle the deck on the top, but this is likely to be a limited reshuffle, as most three star appointments are recent and the incumbents have spent less than a year on their posts.

There is an element of heartburn among senior generals about the chief's long extension, which Bajwa may try to ameliorate.

In November, 2019, the slot of chairman, joint chiefs of staff committee falls vacant.

General Zubair Mohammad Hayat will retire on November 29, 2019.

Bajwa could appoint a four star vice chief as a consolation prize for either of the two senior most lieutenant generals, Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Sattar, armoured corps, presently DG, strategic plans division or Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza, Sind, presently chief of general staff.

Alternatively, one of these two could be kicked upstairs as CJCSC.

RANA BANERJI
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