ISLAMABAD: Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza was on Monday named as the army’s next Chief of General Staff (CGS) in a major reshuffle that also brought in Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj as new Director General of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which is the custodian of nuclear arsenal.

The reshuffle in the army was caused by promotion of Gen Nadeem Raza as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee last week and retirement of Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar after being superseded. Gen Raza was prior to his promotion serving as CGS, while Gen Sattar was posted as SPD director general.

Two major generals were also promoted to fill in the vacancies created due to promotion of Gen Raza and retirement of Gen Sattar.

Gen Mirza will be the 34th CGS of the army.

The post of CGS is considered as the most influential one within the army after that of the army chief. The CGS is assigned operational and intelligence matters at the General Headquarters with the directorates of Military Operations and Military Intelligence falling under his purview.

Nadeem Zaki Manj to be Director General of Strategic Plans Division; outgoing CJCSC Hayat pays farewell call on PM

The position is considered as the springboard for promotion to one of the four-star positions in the army. Out of the last 17 officers becoming either the COAS or CJCSC, 11 had previously served as chief of general staff.

Gen Mirza is from Infantry’s Sindh Regiment. He was posted as adjutant general (AG) before his appointment as CGS. His earlier appointments included vice chief of general staff (A), director general of Military Operations and general officer commanding (GOC) Dera Ismail Khan.

At the AG office, Gen Mirza will be succeeded by Lt Gen Muhammad Amir who was promoted as lieutenant general in September and awaiting posting. His last posting was GOC 10 Division, Lahore. He is from Artillery.

The other key posting was that of director general of the SPD, where Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj is replacing retiring Gen Sattar.

Gen Manj is from the Armoured Corps. Before moving to the SPD, he was working as Mangla corps commander. The two commonalities he shares with his predecessor are that both are from the Armoured Corps and had previously served as director general of the Military Intelligence. Gen Manj had also succeeded Gen Sattar at the Military Intelligence Directorate in 2015.

The SPD, established in 2001, serves as the secretariat of the National Command Authority (NCA) which oversees research, development, production and deployment of nuclear weapons. The SPD executes policies of the NCA. The SPD director general also serves as NCA secretary.

Meanwhile, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood has been transferred and posted as Mangla Corps Commander in place of Gen Manj. Gen Mehmood is also from the Armoured Corps.

Inspector General of Communications & Information Technology (IG C&IT) Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood will be new commander of the Peshawar-based XI Corps. This position will be filled by newly promoted Lt Gen Ali Amir Awan.

Gen Awan is among the two major generals promoted to fill the three-star vacancies. His last posting was GOC 14 Division based in Okara. He is from Artillery.

The other major general, who was promoted to the next rank of lieutenant general, was Lt Gen Muhammad Saeed. He was director general (analysis) at the Inter-Services Intelligence. Subsequent to his promotion, he was appointed as president of the National Defence University.

Outgoing CJCSC meets PM

Outgoing Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat on Monday paid a farewell call on Prime Minister Imran Khan, adds APP. The prime minister appreciated Gen Hayat’s long meritorious service for the country. He wished the outgoing CJCSC well for his post-retirement life.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2019