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December 2, 2016

General Qamar Bajwa fourth oldest Pak Army chief


December 2, 2016

43-year-old Ayub appointed on Jan 17, 1951, was the youngest and 57-year-old Raheel the oldest army chief of Pakistan

LAHORE: Having assumed charge as the 16th Chief of Army Staff at the age of 56 years and a few days, General Qamar Javed Bajwa (born on November 1960), became the fourth oldest Army Chief of the country at the time of his elevation on Tuesday last, an exclusive statistical research undertaken by the Jang Group and Geo Television Network reveals.

The Ghakhar Mandi (Gujranwala district) born General Bajwa also shares his birth place with Pakistan's ninth president, Muhammad Rafiq Tarar (born on November 2, 1929), who had served the country as the head of state from January 20, 1998 to June 20, 2001.

The three oldest army chiefs ever to be appointed are:

General Raheel Sharif (born June 16, 1956), who was appointed in November 2013 at the age of 57 years, five months and 13 days, remains the oldest-ever General to serve as the country's army chief.  The second-oldest was General Mirza Aslam Beg (born on August 2, 1931), who was made Chief of the Army Staff on August 17, 1988 at the age of 57 years and 15 days. He remained in office till August 1, 1992.

The third-oldest army chief was General Tikka Khan (July 7, 1915-March 28, 2002), who was elevated to spearhead the Pakistani military on March 3, 1972 at the age of 56 years and seven months. He occupied this office till March 1, 1976.

Youngest-ever Pakistani army chief in history:

Pakistan's first native commander-in-chief, Field Marshal General Muhammad Ayub Khan (born on May 14, 1907 —April 19, 1974), remains the youngest of all 15 army bosses to have headed the Pakistani military in over 70 years.

Ayub Khan was appointed to this post on January 17, 1951 at the age of only 43 years, eight months and three days.

Research also shows that Ayub Khan holds another record of sorts: Among all other army chiefs before or after him, Ayub had the shortest military service length of 30 years, 10 months and 24 days.

Ayub Khan started his military service on February 2, 1928, which thus means that he had managed to grab the highest and most powerful position after service tenure of just 22 years and 11 months on January 17, 1951 – yet another feather in his illustrious cap.

It goes without saying that had the first two Pakistan army commanders-in-chief, General Frank Messervy and General Douglas Gracey, completed their three-year tenures, Ayub Khan would not have been picked to lead the country's military at the age of only 43.

While General Sir Frank Walter Messervy was sent packing for defying the then Governor General Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on February 10, 1948, just five months and 25 days after he was chosen by the British Empire to lead the Pakistani Army on August 15, 1947, General Douglas Gracey had retired just 25 days prior to the completion of his stipulated three-year tenure on January 16, 1951.

Gracey too was guilty of insubordinate behaviour toward Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but he had somehow survived on his position due to the founder of Pakistan's death on Sept 11, 1948.

Another factor that played a pivotal role in Ayub’s early elevation was the accidental demise of Major General Muhammad Iftikhar Khan (January 10, 1907 – December 13, 1949), who was actually nominated ahead of Ayub Khan to become the first local commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army.

According to the December 14, 1949 edition of a widely-subscribed Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, Major General Iftikhar was senior to Ayub Khan, but he had perished in a Pakistan Airways Dakota plane crash near Karachi on Dec 13, 1949, before he could assume the post of commander-in-chief.

The 185-year old Australian newspaper, which had a daily circulation of 104,000 in February 2016, had revealed 67 years ago that those killed along General Iftikhar included a serving Brigadier, Sher Khan, and 24 other military officers.

General Iftikhar was flying from Lahore to Karachi to further proceed to Imperial Defence College Camberley (England) for a course, the newspaper further reported.

Here follows the list of other Pakistani army commanders and their ages when they had assumed command of the country's armed forces:

General Sir Frank Walter Messervy (born Dec 9, 1893 – February 2, 1974) was 53 years and nine months old when he assumed office on August 15, 1947 to serve till February 10, 1948.

General Sir Douglas David Gracey (Sept 3, 1894 – June 5, 1964) was 53 years and five months when he was appointed Pakistan's army chief by the British Empire on February 11, 1948 to serve till January 16, 1951.

General Muhammad Musa  Khan (October 20, 1908 -- March 12, 1991), rose to the rank of the commander-in-chief of Pakistan armed forces on April 1, 1957, when he was 48 years and five months old. He held the office till Sept 17, 1966.

General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan (Feb 4, 1917 -- Aug 10, 1980) became Chief of Army Staff on Sept 18, 1966 when he was 49 years and seven months old. He held the office till Dec 20, 1971.

General Gul Hassan (June 9, 1921 - October 10, 1999) was appointed commander-in-chief on January 22, 1972 at the age of 50 years and seven months. He called shots till March 3, 1972.

Gul Hassan had the shortest tenure as the commander-in-chief, having served for just two months and 11 days.

General Ziaul Haq (August 12, 1924 -- August 17, 1988) was appointed Chief of Army Staff on March 1, 1976 at the age of 51 years and six months.

Ziaul Haq had served on this key position for the longest period of 12 years, 5 months and 16 days.

General Asif Nawaz Janjua (January 3, 1937 -- January 8, 1993) was made Chief of Army Staff on June 11, 1991 at the age of 54 years and five months.

General Abdul Wahid Kakar (born March 20, 1937) was appointed Chief of Army Staff on January 12, 1993 at the age of 55 years and nine months. He had served till January 12, 1996.

General Jehangir Karamat (born February 20, 1941) was made Chief of the Army Staff on January 12, 1996 at the age of 54 years and 10 months. He held the office till October 6, 1998.

General Pervez Musharraf (born August 11, 1943) took over as the Chief of Army Staff on October 6, 1998 at the age of 55 years and one month. He served till November 28, 2007.

By the way, Musharraf has had the longest military career spread over 45 years, seven months and nine days.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (born April 20, 1952) took over as the Chief of Army Staff on November 29, 2007 at the age of 55 years and nine months. He served till November 29, 2013.

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