Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience



Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Lt Gen Haroon Aslam (2nd L) has also commanded the Bahawalpur Corps and was promoted to the position of Lt General in April 2010.  — File Photo by PPI
Lt Gen Haroon Aslam (2nd L) has also commanded the Bahawalpur Corps and was promoted to the position of Lt General in April 2010. — File Photo by PPI

In the past couple of weeks, speculation has been rife over the appointment of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and rumours say that this time around the decision-making will be extremely judicious for which the screening process is already underway.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has a daunting task ahead of him to appoint successors to Pakistan’s coveted military offices CJCSC and the COAS after Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne and Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani retire on October 6 and November 29 respectively.

With these critical decisions to be made by Prime Minister Sharif who is in office for a record third time, observers have drawn parallels to an earlier period in Pakistan’s political history where the premier faced a similar kind of dilemma.

In 1998, General Pervez Musharraf was appointed as the army chief out of turn who later ousted Sharif’s government in a bloodless coup d'état. The outcome from the appointment also explains why the prime minister recently announced that he would appoint the senior-most lieutenant general as COAS.

For this task, the premier has sought assistance from Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and incumbent Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif. It is worth mentioning that the former was also highly instrumental during the appointment of General Musharraf in 1998.

Sharif would have to decide between two potential generals if the current stance on seniority is maintained. PML-N leaders say that the contenders tipped to succeed Gen Kayani and Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne include Lt Gen Haroon Aslam and Admiral Asif Sandilla.

Lt General Haroon Aslam currently holds the position of Chief of Logistics Staff at the Army Head Quarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. He enjoys a credible reputation within the military ranks and a strong army career during which he commanded the Bahawalpur Corps and was later promoted to the position of Lt General in April 2010. He also participated in the 2009 Rah-i-Rast operation conducted against Taliban militants in Swat.

If the principle of seniority is upheld, then Gen Haroon Aslam will be appointed to the office of COAS while Admiral Asif Sandilla, who is the Chief of Naval Staff and the senior most official in the armed forces, will be the CJCSC.

However, if the Pak Navy chief does not get the post of the CJCSC, then Haroon Aslam is likely to take over and Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood will become the COAS.

The names would be forwarded to the Ministry of Defence, which is also headed by the prime minister himself.

There is tangible evidence to suggest that Gen Rashad Mahmood is a prospective candidate to make it to the office. Earlier this year, Mahmood was named the new Chief of General Staff (CGS), which is one of the most prestigious positions in the army. Moreover, he has served as the Corps Commander of Lahore. Another key position he previously held was of military secretary to former president Rafiq Tarar.

In a situation where Prime Minister Sharif decides to give seniority a toss, then generals who can be considered for the post may include: Inspector General Training and Evaluation at the GHQ Lt Gen Raheel Sharif, Corps Commander of Mangla Lt. Gen Tariq Khan, Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Muhammad Zaheerul Islam and Commander XXX Corps Gujranwala Lt Gen Salim Nawaz.

— Compiled and edited by Fatema Imani

Most Popular

Comments (34) Closed

Anuj Sep 02, 2013 02:15pm

What is the reason for the fascination for the Army generals and what will they do next or who will get appointed where next in Pakistan?

Simpky this - unlike the civilian rulers, it is probably the Army which still holds power of veto and the martial character seems to rule the hearts and minds of ordinary Pakistanis, not democrats and civil servants who can better their lives.

This fascination shall help ensure slower real devpt in pakistan. Why? Because, I daresay, would the appointment of person "A" versus Ge, "B" cause Pakistan's railways to come back to life? Improve gas situation? etc etc. NO. But the fascination with the absurd and glorification of petty bureacrats in uniform continues unabated...

Logic Makes Sense Sep 02, 2013 02:20pm

If selected he will basically be a big "YES" man for NS. If he errs then, he will have to make sure that when we makes trips abroad the arrival is kept discreet or he comes back incognito with James Bond..

Khan Bhai Sep 02, 2013 02:53pm

It would be very difficult replacing Khayani. He is quite exceptional.

Saleem Sep 02, 2013 02:56pm

No one in the world talk about out of turn. According to Law, few generals qualify to be appointed COAS. It is the RIGHT of PM to appoint whomever he wants. This is a senseless discussion of being Senior or Junior, which is discussed in Pakistan. In other countries, corporate world, the head has the right to pick. No questions asked. I have seen many departments which were disfunctional because The Senior Most Incompetent is made in charge with dire consequences.

ali Sep 02, 2013 03:40pm

It does not matter who is chosen,People are more concerned about who performs well against the taliban and against the other terrorist group operating in the country who have even attacked security offices and naval offices and other military installations.

rashid Sep 02, 2013 04:07pm

there are a couple of comments an article on exactly the same subject and probably in more detail appeared in dawn about three weeks ago?

if nawaz sharif has indicated that he will use seniority as the criteria, then where is there room for speculation? or mystery?

the article has two authors one listed at the top and one at the bottom not a big deal, but why?

Mr.T Sep 02, 2013 04:26pm

This is very important who will become next coas of Pakistan, it's more important then prime minister and president, coz world knows that this country major decision only be taken by such personality. I wish this guy will be a role model and follow the foot steps of gen kiyani, as he did great job in his tenure...

Farooq Qazi Sep 02, 2013 05:50pm

What is MOST important here is that the writer puts the positions and appointments of the general officers correctly. Too much of incorrect information in the article in terms of appointments.

Farooq Qazi Sep 02, 2013 05:53pm

@ali: All these General Officers mentioned have served in Baluchistan in their youth. They only have that experience of handling 'ferrari' issues. They are ill-equipped for the Taliban operations. The best choice for that matter is General Tariq Khan. But I goes if seniority takes over, that would not be possible.

S. A. M. Sep 02, 2013 06:21pm

whoever is more pro taleban will make it to the office.

Agha Ata Sep 02, 2013 07:25pm

This is the first time for Nawaz Sharif to prove that he can stop history to repeat itself.

Aditya Sep 02, 2013 07:36pm

@Khan Bhai: Can I have yr meds

OrkutFacio Sep 02, 2013 08:27pm

The name of Lt Gen Raheel Sharif is a very interesting one. Brother of Nishan e Haider Major Shabbir Shareef, he is a highly professional soldier and a major achiever in Army.

But Sharif should stick to the "logical" process and let the most seniors take up the place.

abu horaira Sep 02, 2013 08:52pm

Gen Haroon Aslam if is inshAllah next chief, Pakistan will regain the honour, we need person like him, who knows where to use stick and where to use patriotism

fahad Sep 02, 2013 09:50pm

Gen Haroon will be a good choice

Modi Sep 02, 2013 10:04pm

@Khan Bhai: Are you serious? Kayani has shown he has no guts and brains. He has allowed the Army to sit in barracks, while Talibans have literally taken over Pakistan. He has not cleaned out the armed forces from "fundos". In short he has brought Pakistan to the level of a failed state which cannot establish the writ of the Govt. in our own territories. He has also continued the outdated and bogus fear of India to obtain money from the Govt.

Harinder Sep 02, 2013 11:03pm

Chief of Pakistan is decided by the empire and not Mr Sharif ?

AA Sep 03, 2013 12:15am

At least one thing is certain, based on recent promotions in Army and Air Force, merit does not count! period! Its pure buttering and networking!

Humayun Khan Sep 03, 2013 08:04am

The best professional amongst these Generals is Haroon Aslam.

Zaheer Sep 03, 2013 10:44am

@Khan Bhai: An exceptional leader sees to it that another leader is groomed to take over, when the time comes. I think Gen.K. has done that, surely he must know that no one is irreplaceable.

Habib Qureshi Sep 03, 2013 11:54am

Better PM can appoint senior most Lt-General for Post of Chief which is good for civil government, country and army itself.

Aftab Kenneth Wilson Sep 03, 2013 12:52pm

if any lessons heart from the past then go for the most senior from within the Pakistan Army and that is to say from Pakistan Air Forces and Pakistan Navy included.

Maulana Diesel Sep 03, 2013 02:27pm

It doesn't matter anymore for anyone to make it to the pinnacles. Pakistan is passing through most turbulent times. I bet no one will be happy enough to enjoy the ride. Its already too tough ahead.

Imran Sep 03, 2013 03:24pm

Brilliant editorial staff and amazing journalism...the name of the current Army Chief is NOT Ashraf Pervez Kiyani, it is Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani!

M Sep 03, 2013 04:09pm

this is so confusing. you dont even mention which posts youre talking about. please be more clear next time

khanm Sep 03, 2013 04:16pm

Generals may come general may go but we have to move on

G.A. Sep 03, 2013 04:41pm

If political parties stand together and declare that no more dictators will be tolerated then the generals will think twice before launching a coup. Five years of Zardari proves that Pakistan can survive bad elected leaders.

Noor Sep 03, 2013 05:25pm

Well these are all assumptions .Who is going to get thet key position . Eventually Pentagon will decide who is the right person.For god sake tell is the honestly . why all and every body is beating around the bush . Keep the tradition alive .

wali khan Sep 03, 2013 05:53pm

In my opinion Gen Tariq khan will be a loyal person If He belong to Pashtoon area of Pakistan, Because most of the Good and loyal people of Punjab and other area look their interest vs country interest. If He is a real Pashtoon and dialogical Muslim then He will be successful. Other wise should be the senior most with his right and then next.

Mujtaba Sep 03, 2013 08:46pm

Zaid hamid should get a chance! Hes one of the patriotic person of Pakistan

Holy Cow Sep 03, 2013 11:43pm

@khanm: And you think that justifies military coups? Study Psychology first before making such sweeping judgements!

Siddiqui Sep 04, 2013 06:02am

@AA: Yes, indeed, you have hit the nail on its head! In order for Pakistan to effectively deal with internal and external threats, officers with BRAINS need to be promoted (Intellectual capital) and not those who BUTTER brains of their higher ups or offer CAPITAL to capitalize the promotion.

Farhan Sep 04, 2013 08:28am

He should choose a COAS from Punjab because all military dictators in the past have been non-Punjabi, while Punjabi chiefs have always been pro-democracy: Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia ul Haq & Pervaiz Musharraff versus Asif Janjua, Jehangir Karamat & Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani.

ayesha shaikh Sep 04, 2013 02:48pm

It will definitely who will be of American's party of Republicans liking and throw Nawaz Sharif out, I am sure!