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CHIEF of the Army Staff-designate Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday.—APP
CHIEF of the Army Staff-designate Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minis­ter Nawaz Sharif on Saturday named the new military command, appointing Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as the chief of army staff and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), respectively, in the hope of stabilising the fragile civil-military balance.

The appointments were set in motion by the impending retirement of incumbent army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and CJCSC Gen Rashad Mehmood and put to rest feverish speculation regarding who would succeed Gen Raheel Sharif — the first army chief to retire on time in around two decades.

While the office of CJCSC is technically the more senior position — as he serves as the principal military adviser to the prime minister and the National Command Authority (NCA) — the office of army chief is the most prized and arguably the most powerful position in the country.

Gen Zubair Hayat made Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee

Gen Bajwa is an infantry officer, while Gen Hayat hails from the artillery. The latter has the honour of being the first gunner to become a four-star general since Gen Musharraf retired in 2007. Both officers are from the 62nd Pakistan Military Academy Long Course and were commissioned in the army in October 1980.

“President Mamnoon Hussain has, on the advice of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, appointed Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as chief of army staff,” the announcement from PM House said. Soon after the announcement, both officers called on PM Sharif.

Army chief

Gen Bajwa was previously posted as the Inspector General for Training and Evaluation at the General Headquarters, the same post held by Gen Raheel Sharif before he took over as army chief.

Gen Bajwa was considered as a dark horse in the race for the army’s command and has now superseded Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain (chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila), Lt Gen Najibullah Khan (DG Joint Staff Headquarters), Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed (Corps Commander Multan) and Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday (Corps Commander Bahawalpur).

There is an unwritten tradition in the army that superseded officers retire, but there have been exceptions. However, the decision to supersede four generals — particularly the battle-hardened Gen Ishfaq and Gen Javed Ramday — is bound to set tongues wagging among the military’s ranks.

The seniority list has almost never been strictly followed in appointing army chiefs. The list was followed most closely in 2007, when Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — the senior-most officer — was appointed army chief after Gen Musharraf doffed his uniform.

The succession may not immediately bring about a major change in policies, but it could still have important implications for ties with India and Afgha­nistan, and domestically for the civil-military equation and the ongoing fight against terrorism.

Both Gen Bajwa and Gen Hayat lack the experience of active combat because neither has been posted in a conflict zone.

The army chief-designate is, meanwhile, credited with having spent a considerable part of his military service in the Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps, which is responsible for guarding the Line of Control (LoC). However, his time at the 10 Corps was a period of relative quiet following the 2003 ceasefire accord.

This experience could prove invaluable as he takes command amidst serious escalation on the LoC, which saw some of the intense skirmishes since 2003.

Gen Bajwa’s relatively more moderate view of the relationship with the civilian government, it is said, proved to be the decisive factor in PM Sharif’s decision.

One of Gen Bajwa’s former commanding officers told Dawn the COAS-designate is a strong proponent of the army not intruding into civilian space.

Under the watch of the outgoing army chief, the civil-military balance of power had titled more in military’s favour.

The fight against terrorism, it is believed, would remain unaffected. Gen Bajwa, his colleagues say, is a firm opponent of extremism and terrorism. According to an insider, he may prove even more forceful in the fight against terrorism than his predecessor, who is credited with launching Operation Zarb-i-Azb, which helped lower the frequency of terrorist attacks.

On a personal level, Gen Bajwa is said to be witty, accessible, well-connected with the troops and not fond of the limelight.

He is the fourth officer from the infantry’s Baloch Regiment to become the army chief. Before him, Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Kayani rose to that position.


The immediate and foremost issue requiring the new army chief’s attention would be the situation on the LoC, where the violence has escalated over the past two months, even though the relationship has generally been tense ever since Narendra Modi came to power in India.

Second on the priority list for the incoming chief would be consolidation of the gains made in the fight against terrorism. Terrorist attacks in Mohmand Agency and Gwadar on the day Gen Bajwa was named were in themselves reminder that the fight was still not over.

He would then have to take stock of the situation in Balochistan and the Karachi operation. Additionally, he’d be required to take position on the awaited Punjab operation, which could not be launched during his predecessor’s period, despite pressure exerted by the military.

The third front requiring his immediate attention would be team building; he will immediately need to appoint a chief of general staff — a key posting that runs the army’s day-to-day operations — after the promotion of Gen Hayat.

In addition, the supersession of four generals could force a major reshuffle within the top brass if they decide to step down.

Chairman joint chiefs

GEN Zubair Mahmood Hayat, the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
GEN Zubair Mahmood Hayat, the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Gen Hayat was always expected to become the CJCSC, given his career trajectory.

As a three-star general, he served as director general of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which is the secretariat of the NCA, and Bahawalpur corps commander. This made him an ideal choice for the post of CJCSC, which has an almost exclusive jurisdiction over Pakistan’s nuclear forces and assets.

He is generally seen as Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s protégé.

Theoretically, the CJCSC has to be the senior-most four-star officer from any of the three services — army, navy and air force. However, since the establishment of the NCA, the army has staked a claim to its leadership, because it controls the key areas of nuclear command and strategic assets. The CJCSC is also the deputy chairman of NCA’s deployment committee, which is headed by the prime minister.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2016

Comments (27) Closed

a k malik Nov 27, 2016 10:00am

many congragulations to new army chief and many thanks to outgoing chief for protectecting Pakistan and abiding by the constitution well done PRIME MINISTER

Bystander Nov 27, 2016 10:19am

He's re-draw the 3 years of Civil-Military Relations. Hope Democracy would be his favorite system of governance.

Ahsan Nov 27, 2016 10:20am

General Bajwa, the entire nation is behind you. Go ahead and follow your predecessor to further enhance the great name of Pakistan Defence forces. You have many challenges ahead both within the country and outside threats

ART KP Nov 27, 2016 10:22am

Civil and army relationship is on top of list because of Raheel shareef. The problem is civil and government relationship which is at bottom of the list and nobody trusts PMLN Government.

blue saffron Nov 27, 2016 10:27am

No time should be wasted on civ mil issues, we should focus on dealing with India at the earliest and strengthening our relations with China and Russia on this matter.

Love Your Country Nov 27, 2016 10:38am

@ART KP - where did you get the 'nobody' I wonder?

Khyber Nov 27, 2016 11:10am

It should have been the senior most General.

ART KP Nov 27, 2016 11:13am

@Love Your Country Nobody except the corrupts. PMLN Gov is a car without petrol with hypocrites sitting in the car and its going nowhere.

PAKander Nov 27, 2016 11:13am

God bless pakistan

Tan Nov 27, 2016 11:15am

As expected Nawaz Sharif never believed in merit!

Faraz Zubair Nov 27, 2016 11:18am

@Love Your Country Possibly from everyone save the blindfolded PML(N) supporters.

5G Thinking Nov 27, 2016 11:48am

"Calling civil military ties fragile is a complete lie by PMLN to hide its own insecurities about civil and government ties."

Syed Naseem Ahmed Nov 27, 2016 11:59am

Many Congratulation to the New Army Chief . He is the best selection in view of the present sererio specially on the L.O.C situation and the Indian dream .

God bless our country with might strength to accept the challenge of todays world and give our Powerful Army , Air force and Navy the capability and
strength to defend the nation with full force . AMIN

Syed Naseem Ahmed

Khalid Azhar Nov 27, 2016 12:27pm

Gen Bajwa will carry-on the legacy seamlessly.He is a true leader and professional soldier. We wish him all the best wishes for the new appointment. Gen Zubair is the best choice for the prestigious post of CJCSC which deals with the sensitive matters of the country. I am glad to see the selection. Long Live Pakistan!

Muhammad Qasim Nov 27, 2016 12:30pm

No matter if selection creteria was not based on seniority bases but all we know we should proud to be our brave and boloved army. Pakistan Army Zindabad.

FARAS Nov 27, 2016 01:10pm

Congrats Gen. Bajwa for becoming COAS. Hope he will follow and carry the good work done by Gen. Raheel.

Munna Nov 27, 2016 01:38pm


COOL BREEZE Nov 27, 2016 01:47pm

Good luck to him.

Wajih Uddin Qidwai Nov 27, 2016 02:51pm

Congratulation to both the Officers. It will be the real test of COAS because the high standard set by predecessor. We hope that he will continue the policies of previous COAS to eradicate the terrorism

Zahid Ali Nov 27, 2016 04:21pm

Pakistan will become more stronger Inshallah

Azmeen Nov 27, 2016 05:49pm

Heartiest congratulations to new COAS, General Bajwa, and many thanks to outgoing chief for his outstanding performance as COAS over the past three years. All State institutions have to work in complete harmony to successfully address the daunting challenges Pakistan and Pakistani people are facing. All the best.

Logicaldude Nov 27, 2016 08:19pm

Did the government publish his professional bio. Would love to see it.

Mustafa R. Nov 27, 2016 08:41pm

The civil-military tension is a manifestation of government-people tension.

Taimoor Nov 27, 2016 11:19pm

His biggest challenge is to break the back of economic terrorists. The nexus between black money and terrorism is still intact.

syed zafar kazmI U.S Nov 28, 2016 05:53am

Congratulations to Gen Qamar Javaid Bajwa for the post of COAS to replace his great predecessor Gen. Raheel Sharif, a true soldier of great honor, grit, valor and deep patriotism. It's a job with great many challenges and General Bajwa's selection is a testament to his own talent, class and caliber. I believe his disinterest in civil matters would be an added credential for him in the sense that it would further strengthen the country's fledgling democracy which has already received a robust nourishment from the retiring COAS who shunned all temptations by rejecting any extension of his term and also squarely rejected all popular but unwise calls to subvert the constitution and take over the power. The outgoing COAS shall forever occupy a glowing spot in the military annals of history of Pakistan and so shall the new chief be a priceless asset for the nation. He can accomplish the unfinished business of war on terrorism on all fronts and specially in long delayed Punjab. Best of luck.

bIno Nov 28, 2016 04:12pm

He seems like a pretty wise man

ADI VICCAJI Nov 28, 2016 08:46pm

The right choice has been made. I wish him and Pakistan a great future.