ISLAMABAD Twenty-nine brigadiers have been promoted to the rank of major general and a major reshuffle in the army's top brass is reported to be on the cards after expected promotion of at least seven officers to three-star generals over the next few weeks.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the selection board presided over by Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Wednesday.
Those promoted include 10 officers from Infantry, four each from Artillery and Medical Corps, three from engineering corps, two each from Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) and Army Services Corps and one each from Armoured Corps, Air Defence Signals and Ordnance.
They are Brigadiers Nadir Zeb (Armoured Corps), Allah Ditta Khan, Obaid Ullah Khan, Naveed Ahmed and Mian M. Hilal Hussain (Artillery), Muhammad Zahid Latif Mirza (Air Defence), Muhammad Imran Zafar, Shahzad Sikander and Asghar Nawaz (Engineers), Sohail Abbas Zaidi (Signals), Abid Hasan, Ikram Ul Haq, Nasrullah Tahir Dogar, Agha Masood Akram, Inam Ul Haq, Sohail Ahmed Khan, Naushad Ahmed Kayani, Rizwan Akhtar, Tariq Javed and Ghayur Mahmood (Infantry), Sajid Iqbal and Imtiaz Hussain Sherazi (Army Services Corps), Faiz Muhammad Khan Bangash (Ordnance), Tariq Jawaid and Syed Jamal Shahid (EME) and Adil Khan, Amjad Fahim, Hamid Shafique and Abdul Khaliq Naveed (Army Medical Corps).
Sources told Dawn that Army Air Defence Commander Lt-Gen Muhammad Ashraf Saleem, who was due to retire on March 31, had tendered resignation for personal reasons and it was under process.
Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, who is on extension has expressed his inability to continue and is most likely to relinquish charge by the end of this month. His young son was killed in a terrorist attack on a mosque in Rawalpindi's Parade Lane on Dec 4 last year. Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal, who is also on extension and currently on a UN assignment, will complete his term of service in a couple of months.
A lieutenant general is most likely to be appointed at the Special Plans Division where he will benefit from expertise of the division's incumbent chief Lt-Gen Khalid Ahmad Qidwai before replacing him. The sources said that Mangla Corps Commander General Nadeem Ahmed, Lahore Corps Commander Lt-Gen Ijaz Ahmad Bakshi, Chairman of the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority Lt-Gen Sajjad Akram and Inspector General of Training and Evaluation at GHQ Lt-Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat will retire on May 1. Lt-Gen Shahid Niaz, currently serving as engineer-in-chief at GHQ, will retire by the end of June.
The sources said that seven to eight major generals would soon be promoted to the rank of lieutenant general to fill the vacancies. They said a reshuffle was imminent after the promotion of officers. Currently four lieutenant generals are on extension and there are indications that more extensions are possible in coming days.
The sources said the Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Mustafa Khan, who is due to retire on Oct 31, is likely to get an extension for at least six months. Also Lt-Gen S. Absar Hussain, who is currently serving as Commander Strategic Force, will retire on Oct 22 and is most likely to get an extension.