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ISLAMABAD: The army on Saturday announced a reshuffle in which its vice chief of general staff was posted as a corps commander and the chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories was replaced amid criticism by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the POF’s management.

Vice Chief of General Staff Maj Gen Azhar Saleh Abbasi was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and appointed as corps commander of Mangla, sources said.

Gen Abbasi is from the armoured corps and has commanded a division in Wana, South Waziristan. He is replacing Lt Gen Umar Farooq Durrani as head of the Mangla-based ‘1 Strike Corps’.

Gen Durrani has, meanwhile, been moved to the Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah, as its chairman. Its incumbent chairman Lt Gen Omar Mahmood Hayat is a brother of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Hayat.

Criticism by minister precedes change of command at POF, Wah

Gen Hayat has, meanwhile, been named as chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The NDMA’s current chairman, Maj Gen Asghar Nawaz, is retiring from service.

Gen Hayat’s transfer from the POF comes in the middle of a controversy about the interior minister’s involvement in trade union matters at the ordnance factories that, according to the defence sources, were being resisted by the outgoing chairman.

In a statement on Friday, Chaudhry Nisar had accused the POF management of “incompetence and lack of discipline”.

Talking to local leaders in Taxila, the minister had said: “PM Nawaz Sharif had announced a special package for the POF in 1999 and was again giving a historic package to POF employees, but [that] was unfortunately held up due to incompetence and lack of discipline of POF management.”

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2017