Pakistan Army's Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas -- one of the six names apparently shortlisted for the post of the Chief of Army Staff -- has decided to seek early retirement, a leading Pakistani news channel reported on Friday, quoting a family source as saying.
Pakistani media reported this week that Lt Gen Abbas's name figured in the list of the names of six top lieutenant generals in consideration for the appointments as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
Other names in the list included Lt Gen Asim Munir, Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt Gen Azhar Abbas, Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood, Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, and Lt Gen Mohammad Amir.
The development comes after the Pakistan government on Thursday appointed Gen Asim Munir as the next COAS and Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the CJCSC.
After November 27, Lt Gen Azhar Abbas was scheduled to become number two in seniority in the country's armed forces after incumbent COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa.
"Lt Gen Azhar Abbas has decided to bid farewell, seeking early retirement -- true to his personality," Geo News quoted a trusted family source as saying. However, there was no official confirmation.
Lt Gen Abbas -- commissioned in 1987 by Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) in the 41 Baloch Regiment -- has formerly served as the personal secretary to the chief of former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.
During his career, Lt Gen Abbas also commanded 12 Division Murree.
He was the Commandant of the Infantry School in Quetta and Commander of the 10 Corps before taking charge as the CGS.
The post of Army chief is the most powerful position in coup-prone Pakistan where the military wields considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.
General Asim Munir will be the first army chief who has headed both powerful intelligence agencies - the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI).
Gen Munir would replace Gen Bajwa, who retires on November 29 after two consecutive three-year terms.
The CJCSC is the highest authority in the hierarchy of the armed forces but the key powers including mobilisation of troops, appointments, and transfers lie with the COAS which makes the person holding the post the most powerful in the military.
The powerful Army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.
The appointment coincides with a dispute between the military and Khan, who blames the army for playing a role in his ouster in April this year through a no-confidence vote.