Pakistan: Race Heats Up For New Army Chief. Know Top Contenders In The Fray

Pakistan: Race Heats Up For New Army Chief. Know Top Contenders In The Fray

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday said that the process to appoint the next army chief has begun and would be completed by November 25. There are around five top generals in the race to succeed incumbent General Qamar Javed Bajwa, reported PTI. “The process for appointment of the highest posts of the Army has started from today. By the grace of God, it will be completed soon, by fulfilling all constitutional requirements,” Asif tweeted.

The ministry of defence (MoD) is supposed to issue the ‘discharge summary’ of the incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 paving the way for the appointment of his successor.

General Bajwa, 61, will retire on November 29 after a three-year extension. He didn’t seek another extension.

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List of top contenders for the post of new chief

Lieutenant General Asim Munir

The general, who belongs to the Frontier Force Regiment had also headed the Inter-Services Intelligence, which focuses on security and military intelligence. General Asim Munir also served under Bajwa’s direct command in the disturbing northern border areas including Afghanistan, China and India. However, former Prime Minister Imran Khan had removed Munir as ISI chief within eight months of his appointment to replace him with an officer considered close to him, reported news agency Blooomberg.

He is currently serving at the army headquarters as quartermaster general, charged with overseeing supplies for all military units. Munir can made to the top job if Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif picks him ahead of his retirement on November 27.

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Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza

He is a three-star general and the senior-most serving officer in the army after Bajwa. As director general of military operations, the General led strikes against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups in the North Waziristan province, near the Afghan border.

Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid

He is believed to be a Khan loyalist and remained in charge of the ISI when the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan. General Faiz Hamid has reportedly photographed while sipping tea at Kabul’s iconic Serena Hotel as the militant group’s top leaders discussed about the new leader. The photograph was seen as a sign that the powerful spy agency had a key role to play in the process.

Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas

At present, General Abbas holds the second most important job in the military as chief of general staff. He is responsible for the military’s operational and intelligence business.

He served in the 10th Corp safeguarding the Line of Control, the de facto border that divides the Himalayan region of Kashmir with neighbour and arch-rival India.

Lieutenant General Nauman Mahmood

The infantry officer has spearheaded forces in a deadly offensive against militants in Pakistan’s northwest and oversaw an ISI department tracking foreign policy and security issues. He is now serving as the president of the National Defense University, Pakistan’s top military education institution.