LAHORE: After the retirement of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat in 2019, Corps Commander Multan Lt-General Sarfraz Sattar would be on top of the seniority list for appointment as the COAS and CJCSC.
Others on the seniority list include: Lt-General Nadeem Raza, Lt-General Humayun Aziz, Lt-General Naeem Ashraf, Lt-Gen Sher Afghan and Lt-Gen Qazi Ikraam. Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Bilal Akbar stands on seventh place on the seniority list.
The future scene of armed forces leadership has become clear to a large extent after the promotions, given by COAS General Bajwa recently.
In this scenario, incumbent Multan Corps Commander Lt-General Sarfraz Sattar would be the most senior general on Nov 29, 2019, the date of retirement of the current COAS Bajwa. Earlier, he has served as military intelligence chief, Infantry Division Sialkot Commanding Officer and as the military attaché in India.
During General Raheel Sharif’s stint as the COAS, the most junior lieutenant general was Sarfraz Sattar. It would not be out of place to mention here that General (retd) Raheel Sharif, before his retirement, suggested his name as one of the options for the military command in 2019 for continuation of his policies.
It might be mentioned here that earlier General (retd) Ashfaq Parvez Kyani had also promoted a professional officer Zubair Mahmood Hayat as a lieutenant general in the last days of his service.
The next on the seniority list, Lt-General Nadeem Raza, belongs to Infantry, and currently he is serving as Corps Commander Rawalpindi. He was promoted as a major general in 2013. As a major general, he served as Commandant PMA Kakul and Commanding Officer Waziristan. As a brigadier, he also served as Chief of Staff Mangla Corps.
Currently serving as IG Communication & IT at GHQ, Lt-General Humayun Aziz has served as commander Artillery Division in Gujranwala. He led a military operation as general officer commanding in Tirah, Khyber Agency, in 2013, and GOC Infantry Division Kharian in 2014. As a brigadier, he served in the military intelligence.
Currently serving as chairman Heavy Industries Taxila, Lt-General Naeem Ashraf remained as the chief instructor of National Defence University. As a major general, he commanded the division once and the brigade twice. Though Director-General Frontier Works Organisation Lt-General Muhammad Afzal is placed on the fifth position on the seniority list, he belongs to the Engineering Corps. That’s why he would not be included in the list.
Bahawalpur Corps Commander Lt-General Sher Afghan belongs to Infantry. Before his current assignment, he has served as General Officer Commanding, Jhelum Division, and IG FC Balochistan. Like Humayun Aziz, he has also served as the military intelligence director, when he was a brigadier.
Lt-Gen Qazi Ikraam, currently posted as chief of logistic staff, has previously served General Officer Commanding (GOC) in Okara and later as DG Personnel Services at GHQ.
The previous postings of Chief of General Staff Lt-Bilal Akbar were Sindh Rangers DG, GOC Lahore, as brigadier in Malakand and the army liaison officer.
Six of the last 10 Chief of General Staff were promoted as four-star general. An interesting point is that the all these seven generals were promoted as major generals on the same day in 2013. One of them Sarfraz Sattar got the rank of lieutenant general in 2015 and the remaining in 2016.
The data shows there are two four-star generals, 27 lieutenant generals and 125 major generals in the army. The two lieutenant generals and 27 major generals are not included among them.
Sixty-five out of these 125 major generals have superseded, meaning their chances of reaching the rank of lieutenant general are bleak after the promotion of juniors. However, more than half of the superseded major generals are still serving so that army could benefit from their professional experience.
Thus, there are 60 major generals who could be promoted to the next rank, out which 11 have been decorated with Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) for their outstanding performance.
Another important point is that it is usually the major generals with Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) who are selected for the higher rank. Hence, Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) reflects that the recipient is fully eligible for the ranks of lieutenant general.
Till a few years back, there has been a tradition of the superseded generals tendering their resignation but it started fading away when Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2004 promoted seven major generals bypassing their 37 colleagues.
In Sept 2016, Gen Raheel Sharif promoted Maj Gen Sarfraz Sattar superseding seven others. Three of them are prominent names: Maj Gen Ahmed Mehmood Hayat (former DG Analysis in ISI and younger brother of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) Zubair Mehmood Hayat), former Punjab Rangers DG Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki and Maj Gen Abid Rafique, the security in-charge of CPEC.
Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa last month promoted seven major generals, superseding 24 others. In this context it could be said that only their names would be considered for the posts of CJCSC and chief army staff in 2019. Hence, the reality is quite opposite to the general impression that the political leadership selects the army chief on the basis personal desire and priorities. The political leadership picks up the chief from the options given by the army, as the process to prepare the future army leadership starts years before the final decision.