ISLAMABAD: General Zubair Mehmood Hayat will take the charge of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) from the outgoing General Rashad Mehmood at the JS Headquarters here on Monday (today).
Elevated from the Chief of General Staff (CGS) from three-star to four-star General, Zubair Hayat would bring with him rich experience required for the coveted office, as in the present higher defence organisations this prestigious office has gained an added importance over a period of time.
General Rashad was also the CGS when he was promoted to General being atop the seniority list and appointed as Chairman CJCSC. Same happened with General Hayat, every inch a soldier, when he was elevated to a 4-star General being atop the seniority list of three-star generals.
Since the completion of tenure as Chairman JCSC by Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze Khan, the office of Chairman JCSC has permanently been occupied by a top military general. “It is now a settled principle that Chairman JCSC would be from the Pakistan Army and the past practice of appointing Chairman JCSC from the Pakistan Navy or Pakistan Air Force has been done away with,” said a top military source.
The office of Chairman JCSC remained with the Army Chief on acting charge basis both to General Jehangir Karamat and General Pervez Musharraf until the then Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf was given the full charge of Chairman JCSC on October 6, 1999.
“Shahbaz Sharif and Ch Nisar Ali Khan informed General Musharraf about the decision of the prime minister that he would also be full time Chairman JCSC in the heat of an impression of two parallel governments being run in Pakistan with a major communication breakdown between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Musharraf,” recalled a military officer, who said just after six days of this gesture shown by Prime Minister Sharif, General Musharraf on October 12th, 1999 deposed him in a coup on his legitimate attempt to appoint a new Army Chief at a time when General Musharraf was on a flight from Colombo.
Rest was the history as Sharif family suffered a great deal and was exiled to Saudi Arabia. “Don’t they know that I was the one who resisted mounting American pressure not to conduct nuclear tests on May 28, 1998,” Mian Nawaz Sharif told this reporter when he met him at the Saroor Palace, Jeddah many years after his exile.
“We have done everything for Pakistan and its security and defence but we have been made to suffer by keeping us away from our homeland. Our family wants Pakistan stronger and more secure and we had never compromised on national security.”
Things have now changed to the best smoothest possible changes at the highest military level with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointing new Chief of the Army Staff and new Chairman JCSC with confidence.
Following General Musharraf’s decision of leaving the office of Chairman JCSC, senior most three-star General Tariq Majeed was elevated to 4-star General and was appointed Chairman JCSC. He was succeeded by General Khalid Wyne and the outgoing General Rashad Mehmood.
The trend shows that the office of Chairman JCSC has now been allocated to the senior most military office after every three years. The basis of the decision to appoint a senior military officer as Chairman JCSC was firstly because of numerical strength of the Army which makes almost 80 percent of three services and it’s logical to give thispost to a military officer. Secondly, Pakistan’s war strategy is land-based thus it felt essential to appoint a military office to this position; thirdly, controlling and supervising Pakistan’s strategic assets by Pakistan Army and as such it was felt that the military officer should be appointed Chairman JCSC. Lastly, the Pakistan Army deals at international level with leaders of top powers besides sending its troops for UN peacekeeping force and as such it was felt essential that the office of Chairman JCSC must be occupied by a senior military officer at all times.
Another aspect is that Chairman JCSC is considered an important person in all the higher defence organizations including the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) and he chaired meetings of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee wherein chiefs of three services are in attendance.
So the office of Chairman JCSC has become very important and it would be a big challenge for highly able General Zubair Hayat, who had served as DG SPD and thus has full knowledge of Pakistan’s strategic assets, to meet future requirements of the country and maintain high level military acumen in that context besides dealing with affairs of the three services.