ISLAMABAD: General Qamar Javed Bajwa has been appointed Pakistan’s new Chief of the Army Chief (COAS) and he would be taking over the command of the highly-professional Pakistan Army on November 29 (Tuesday) from Pakistan’s most popular outgoing army chief General Raheel Sharif.
In another significant move, the government has appointed General Zubair Mehmood Hayat as the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) to succeed General Rashad Mehmood.
Following his return from abroad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the two much-awaited and much-talked about appointments on Saturday, two days before both General Raheel Sharif and General Rashad Mehmood retire after serving their tenures.
Interestingly, General Bajwa belongs to the 16th Baloch and has become the 16th army chief in 2016 with Prime Minister Sharif picking him as the new army commander at a time when the country is facing several challenges, including the Indian aggression on the Line of Control and tiff on the western borders with fast-receding menace of terrorism and militancy sponsored by foreign powers.
General Bajwa, who has served four appointments in Rawalpindi 10-Corps in different capacities, including its commander, has been chosen as the new army chief, though the top four lieutenant generals were in the race for Pakistan’s most important military office.
After promoting Lt General Bajwa to the rank of four-star General, Prime Minister Sharif appointed him the army chief.
In appointing General Bajwa as the new army chief, two of his senior colleagues – Corps Commander Multan Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmed and Corps Commander Bahawalpur Javed Ramday – were superseded.
The new army chief, General Bajwa, was made the commander of 10 Corps by the-then army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. General Bajwa also served as a lieutenant colonel in the capacity of staff officer in the 10 Corps, as a Brigadier in 10 Corps and commander FCNA before he was elevated as commander Rawalpindi Corps, the largest corps which deals with the LoC as well.
Married to the daughter of Major General (retd) Ijaz Amjad (brother of Maj Gen Iftikhar Janjua), General Bajwa was serving as Inspector-General Training and Evaluation before his elevation as a four-star general, a dream of any professional soldier.
Two other Lt Generals – Syed Wajid Hussain of HIT and Najibullah in the Joint Staff Headquarters – are also senior to General Bajwa but they were not in the race for the army chief and both might continue serving at their present positions.
General Bajwa is the fourth army chief from 16-Baloch. Previously, General Yahya Khan, General Mirza Aslam Baig and General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani were from the Baloch Regiment.
Meanwhile, the new Chairman JCSC General Zubair Hayat served as the Defence Attaché in Washington, and his last appointment before becoming the Chief of General Staff was Director-General Strategic Plans Division, who controls and supervises Pakistan’s strategic assets. As such, he was a perfect choice for the office of the Chairman JCSC. He belongs to a military family as two of his brothers are serving as three-star and two-star generals.
“It is a merit-based decision by the prime minister after keeping all cards close to his chest as speculations hit skies since January this year,” said a military analyst.
Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa was commissioned in the 16 Baloch Regiment on October 24, 1980. He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College (Toronto) Canada, Naval Post Graduate University, Monterey (California), USA, National Defence University, Islamabad. He has been an instructor at the School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta, Command and Staff College, Quetta, and NDU. He has also been Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade and Chief of Staff of Rawalpindi Corps. He has commanded the 16 Baloch Regiment, an Infantry Brigade and has commanded an infantry division in the Northern Areas (Commander FCNA). He has also commanded the Pakistan contingent in Congo. He has commanded Rawalpindi Corps, and is presently Inspector General Training and Evaluation at the GHQ.
Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat was commissioned in the Artillery Regiment on October 24, 1980. He is a graduate of Fort Sill Oklohoma, USA, Command and Staff College, Camberlay, United Kingdom, and National Defence University, Islamabad. He has wide experience of command, staff and instructional appointments. He has commanded an artillery regiment, mechanised division artillery, an infantry brigade and an infantry division. He has been the adjutant at the PMA, Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Army and Air adviser at Pakistan Embassy in the UK. He has also been chief of staff of a strike corps, Private Secretary to COAS and Director General Staff Studies Directorate at GHQ. He has also held the appointment of Director General Strategic Plans Division (SPD). He has commanded 31 Corps, Bahawalpur, and is presently Chief of General Staff at the GHQ.
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