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Speculations over Gen Wynne’s successor


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The image shows Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne and army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. — File photo
The image shows Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne and army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. — File photo

ISLAMABAD, Oct 2: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been playing his cards close to his chest as he ponders over whom to appoint as successor to Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne retiring this week as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

The appointment of chairman of the committee, a largely ceremonial position in the armed forces hierarchy described in the leaked Abbottabad Commission draft report as a post office, has never been so keenly watched before.

However, the impending completion of Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s extended tenure has made everyone to closely follow the CJCSC’s appointment in anticipation that it may give some indication about who could be the army’s next boss.

More importantly, defence analysts think, the appointment would show who is in the driver’s seat — whether the army has its way by retaining the slot; or the position is rotated among other services thus denting the army’s dominance in the country’s defence matters. It’s no secret that the prime minister’s camp has been pushing for the latter.

Although Gen Wynne retires on Saturday, no successor has been named yet because of which speculations have mounted. Some PML-N leaders, however, say that the aura of mystery around the appointment is by design and a successor will be named soon.

An official announcement is yet to come, but pundits are already putting their money on army winning the two-horse race – Army vs Navy.

If the army retains the office, the next CJCSC will most likely be Lt Gen Haroon Aslam, currently the most senior general in the army, while Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Asif Sandila could be the next man if the position goes to the navy.

Why is army the top contender for the post?

The arguments given for keeping the position with the army is that it is the largest of the three services, the country is engaged in war against terrorism and the challenges to country’s security in the foreseeable future are land based.

Moreover, the proponents of the army believe that since it dominated the nuclear program, Strategic Plans Division, NESCOM, etc, comes directly under the CJCSC, therefore having someone from the army in the office would help in maintaining amicable relations between the CJCSC and the army chief.

A retired general, who did not want to be named, dismissed this argument as “self-serving”.

Admiral Sandila had been sitting in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee for three years now and is thought to be better poised to deal with tri-services matters. The naval chief’s appointment as CJCSC could also address grievances within the armed forces about the army dominating the relationship.

The Navy and PAF’s grouse of being poorly resourced as compared to the army is well known.

Comments (14) Closed

YOUSUF HUSSAIN Oct 03, 2013 11:07am

I am my opinion this post is not a political post,the senior most general should be chief of Army and same should be with Navy and air force.All the promotion should be made by their department on their seniority basis.

mohammad Oct 03, 2013 03:53pm

i feel that any body can say that by writing this news column this paper will pitch army against navy. why do not you think about the consequences of your writing. LET A PROPER DECISION COME FROM RESPECTED OFFICE. do not think on not write on this topic.

Agha Ata Oct 03, 2013 06:48pm

I am struggling with the pronunciation of General WYNNE. (It can't be Wayne, as in John Wayne) or does it sound like WINE, then. or may be WIN? Would anyone help me please?

Sal Oct 03, 2013 06:45pm

Who cares..they send their kids abroad for education, live lavish lives and are free to take what land they want and sell it on. Only in Pak can a general retire with millions of US$

khan Oct 03, 2013 08:25pm

Whoever the next Chief of Staff is, should be based on true sincerity and exactly according to the rules. If it is based on politics or any other techniques, could back fire and cause problems for everybody in the future. I think we should mature up and be honest to the cause. Otherwise we will keep on suffering for ever.

Ahmer Oct 03, 2013 10:05pm

The post of the CJCSC is rotated between the three services all over the world. If it is Navy's turn, let Adm Sandila take it over without any fuss or heart burning.

Also, once a general or equivalent rank in the other services attains a three star rank, there is very little to choose from one and the other. Each of them is fit for the fourth star. Every time a politician played favourite and promoted a junior, it proved a disaster. Qaid-e-Millat chose a junior Ayub Khan, Bhutto chose Zia and Mian Sahib chose Musharraf and each of them brought disaster to the country. The current lobbying and string pulling that is going on is bad for our defense services. We should just promote the senior most and cut out the rumours, speculation and jockeying.

ahsan7979 Oct 03, 2013 11:09pm

No need to politicize the issue like the writer is trying to do here. Let the respected offices deal with it. Such important matters of NS should not come under public debate. They never do in developed countries...

M . Irfan . Oct 03, 2013 11:10pm

Whoever come to it , The army'll b more secure & democracy-friendly .

Merit Oct 04, 2013 11:56am

Let the merit prevail!

zia Oct 04, 2013 06:56pm

@Sal: Are u sure ,millions of dollar, children studying abroad, can u be more specific by giving names?

YK Oct 04, 2013 08:13pm

@Agha Ata: It is pronounced: "Wine".

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Oct 05, 2013 01:17am

@Merit: Please this is Pakistan where might is right plus merit.

sabeeh omer Oct 05, 2013 01:00pm

If the Admiral is the senior-most amongst the contenders, then be it. It is all the more necessary to create a harmonious working relationship amongst the three branches of the Armed Forces.

sabeeh omer Oct 05, 2013 06:57pm

@ Agha Ata: And it is the choicest "WINE" of the West!