ISLAMABAD: Gen Nadeem Raza on Friday stepped down as the Cha­irman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee upon his retirement from military service.

“The defence of the country is impregnable and gallant soldiers will not hesitate in making it even more formidable,” Gen Raza said while speaking at a farewell ceremony at Joint Staff Headquarters.

The general, who served in the army for 41 years, said he discharged his duties “to the best of his abilities with honesty, justice and dignity”.

The ceremony, attended by senior officers of the three services and former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff committee, marked the beginning of the transition in the army after the retirement of two four-star generals.

Rumours of Gen Abbas’ ‘retirement’ swirl amid no official word

President Arif Alvi, earlier on Thursday, notified Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the new chairman joint chiefs of staff and Gen Asim Munir as the new chief of army staff, on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The government also notified the retirement of Gen Nadeem Raza and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“In terms of Rule 12 of Pakistan Army Act Rules 1954, the prime minister has been pleased to approve the retirement of PA-19617 General Qamar Javed Bajwa, NI(M), inf with effect from 29th November 2022 from the Army service, with normal benefit,” a notification published by the government in the Gazette of Pakistan read. A similar notification regarding Gen Raza’s retirement was also published.

New military leaders Gen Mirza and Gen Munir were both on top of the seniority list at the time of the appoi­n­tment, which means no other general was superse­ded in this exercise. Super­seded officers traditionally retire before the new commander takes charge.

Yet, it was rumoured that Chief of General Staff (CGS) Gen Azhar Abbas, who was also considered for promotion to the rank of four-star general, had resigned. He is supposed to retire in April next year. It is also being speculated that the other two generals from PMA-76, who were considered but not promoted to the next rank, could step down in the coming days.

However, there was no official confirmation of CGS’ resignation. A military officer said the situation will become clear on Nov 28.

Analysts believe that since none of these officers had been superseded, people would interpret their resignations in a different way especially in view of the feverish speculation that preceded the new appointments.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

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