RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held a farewell meeting with the corps commanders Thursday at the Army General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.
The conference at the GHQ, under the leadership of Kayani, discussed the country’s internal security situation along with professional matters pertaining to the armed forces.
During the meeting, the corps commanders paid glowing tributes to the services rendered by Gen Kayani, who will step down on Friday from his office, after six years at the helm.
On the occasion, Gen Kayani also lauded the cooperation and professional services delivered by the corps commanders.
The army chief said the military was capable and equipped to deal with any challenge, adding that the troops had been trained to modernise from a professional point of view.
Sources said the meeting of the corps commanders also welcomed the appointment of Gen Raheel Sharif as the new COAS. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Gen Sharif as the new COAS on Nov 27, while Gen Rashad Mahmood was appointed the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
Gen Sharif would take up his new post on Friday, the day the incumbent Chief of Army Staff retires.
Gen Kayani was also holding the charge of acting CJCSC after his predecessor Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne retired on Oct 7. He relinquished that position today.
Raheel’s selection as army chief implies that frontrunner and the senior most military officer Lt Gen Haroon Aslam, who was serving as Chief of Logistic Staff, was ignored for the elevation.
General Mahmood takes charge as CJCSC
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood also assumed the charge of his office today.
A simple but impressive ceremony was held at the Joint Staff Headquarters to formally welcome the newly appointed chairman on assumption of his appointment. Upon his arrival at the Joint Staff Headquarters, Mahmood was received by Director General Joint Staff Lt General Muhammad Asif. A smartly turned out contingent of the three services presented the guard of honour to the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee who reviewed the parade. Later, directors generals of the Joint Staff Headquarters were introduced to the new chairman.
Earlier today, Gen Mahmood attended the last corps commanders conference chaired by Gen Kayani and relinquished the charge of chief of general staff of GHQ.
Before his appointment to the post of CJCSC, Mahmood was tipped to be a hot favourite for elevation to the office of chief of army staff.
Mahmood’s appointment as CJCSC technically makes him the head of all armed forces and the nuclear program. The chairman’s position, however, is largely a ceremonial one in the military hierarchy.
He was also thought to be Gen Kayani’s preference as his successor and the outgoing army chief had made him the chief of general staff.
Lt General Haroon Aslam tenders resignation
Senior most general officer Lt General Haroon Aslam tendered his resignation today in the wake of Gen Sharif’s appointment as COAS.
Haroon Aslam, who was widely tipped to succeed Gen Kayani to the position of COAS, was superseded when Gen Sharif was chosen as Pakistan's 15th Army chief.
Aslam has sent his resignation letter to the Defence Ministry from GHQ.
Lt General Haroon Aslam was the Chief of Logistics Staff at the Army GHQ. He enjoyed 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 had also participated in the 2009 Rah-i-Rast operation conducted against Taliban militants in Swat.
Kayani meets PM
After chairing the corps commanders meeting, the outgoing army chief paid a farewell visit to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House in Islamabad, sources told dawn.com.
During the meeting, the prime minister lauded the services of the outgoing army chief over national security and said his services would always be remembered.
Gen Kayani thanked the prime minister for his professional support to the armed forces.