Bajwa set to go in November, so who can be subsequent Pakistan Military chief? These are 4 contenders

New Delhi: A fortnight of political and authorized drama got here to a coda when Mian Shehbaz Sharif changed Imran Khan as prime minister of Pakistan final week. Sharif’s ascension marks a major shift in Islamabad’s energy dynamics — however now, all eyes are on the nation’s different energy centre, Rawalpindi, the place one other high-profile transition is slated for later this 12 months: The appointment of a brand new military chief.

Hypothesis is rife in regards to the successor to Common Qamar Javed Bajwa, a four-star basic who is because of retire as Chief of Military Workers on 29 November, 2022 after having been granted a three-year extension. Gen. Bajwa, 61, was appointed as the military chief by the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in 2016.

The military’s affect on the nationwide life has been all-pervasive, and this transition is being intently watched; as political scientist Stephen Cohen, an professional on South Asia, wrote in his guide The Thought of Pakistan, “Time and time once more, the military’s means has been Pakistan’s means.”

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Gen. Bajwa’s successors

Director-Common of Inter-Companies Public Relations (DG-ISPR) Main Common Babar Iftikhar, has already dominated out the potential of Common Bajwa looking for one other extension. “Let me put this to relaxation. COAS is neither looking for extension nor will he settle for it. He can be retiring on time on 22 November,” he told reporters throughout a press convention earlier this month.

The query arises — who will name the photographs on the Pakistan Military’s Common Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi come November?

Estimates recommend that 20 generals would have retired between Bajwa’s extension in 2019 and the top of his tenure later this 12 months, together with not less than seven lieutenant generals. Because of this there are only a few within the military with the credentials to take over as COAS.

Among the many frontrunners for the job are Lt Generals Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Azhar Abbas, Nauman Mahmood Raja and Faiz Hameed.

It’s attention-grabbing to notice that all the 4 high contenders have been promoted from Main Common to Lieutenant Common in 2019. These within the know of issues additionally level out that solely three corps commanders from Peshawar have risen to the rank of a four-star basic in Pakistan — Common Sawar Khan, Common Aslam Beg and Common Ehsan ul Haq.

Lt Common Sahir Shamshad Mirza

Lt Common Sahir Shamshad Mirza would be the senior-most serving officer within the Pakistan Military after Bajwa’s retirement. Commander of the X Corps in Rawalpindi since September 2021, he was commissioned in 1987 into the eighth battalion of the Sind Regiment, an infantry unit.

Mirza hails from a humble background and misplaced his mother and father when he was younger. He’s known as a staunch institutionalist who has labored to safeguard the authority and status of the military.

He has served as Chief of Common Workers (CGS) at GHQ from November 2019 to September 2021 and Director Common Navy Operations (DGMO) from September 2015 to October 2018. He has additionally commanded divisions in Dera Ismail Khan and Okara in Punjab.

Owing to his seniority throughout the Pakistan Military, many consider Lt Gen. Mirza may take over as both the COAS or the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Workers Committee (CJCSC); the incumbent CJCSC, Nadeem Raza, additionally retires in November 2022.

After Gen. Bajwa’s controversial tenure, epitomised by his fallout with Imran Khan, studies recommend that an uncontroversial loyalist could be what the military is on the lookout for.

Nonetheless, sources instructed ThePrint that seniority isn’t the one issue that issues within the appointment of a military chief, and political issues are prone to play a crucial function.

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Lt Common Azhar Abbas

Lt Common Azhar Abbas is at present serving as Chief of Common Workers (CGS) on the GHQ. Commissioned into the forty first battalion of the Baloch regiment in 1985 — the identical regiment as Gen. Bajwa — he has beforehand served as commandant of the infantry faculty in Quetta. He was additionally private secretary to Common Raheel Sharif, who was military chief from November 2013 to November 2016.

Lt Gen. Abbas has commanded the 12 Infantry Division in Murree and served as a brigadier within the Operations Directorate, along with a stint as director-general of the Joint Workers Headquarters.

He was commander of the X Corps from September 2019 to September 2021. That is seen as a key division of the military since it’s chargeable for safety alongside the Line Of Management (LoC) with India.

It was Lt Gen. Mirza who changed Lt Gen. Abbas as commander of the X Corps in September 2021.

As is the profession trajectory of high generals in Pakistan Military, an officer normally serves as commander of a corps, Chief of Common Workers at GHQ and Director Common Navy Operations earlier than being appointed the Chief of Military Workers.

Each Lt Gen. Mirza and Lt Gen. Abbas tick these packing containers.

Nonetheless, sources identified {that a} Shia Muslim has not served because the COAS in a very long time, alluding that this might act as a deterrent to Lt Gen. Abbas’s appointment to the highest job.

Lt Common Nauman Mehmood Raja

Lt Common Nauman Mehmood Raja has been serving as president of the Nationwide Defence College (NDU) since November 2021.

Initially from Adhwal village in Rawalpindi, he was commissioned into an infantry battalion of the Baloch Regiment in 1987. Lt Gen. Raja has served as corps commander in Peshawar, Director-Common of Evaluation at Inter-Companies Intelligence (ISI) and Inspector Common (IG) for Communication and Info Expertise on the GHQ.

He was additionally the Common Officer Commanding (GOC) of an infantry division in Miranshah.

Sources instructed ThePrint that whereas it could seem that Lt Gen. Raja has been “sidelined” attributable to his present posting on the NDU, one can’t rule him out as Pakistan’s subsequent military chief.

Lt Common Faiz Hameed

Lt Common Faiz Hameed, at present serving as Commander of the XI Corps in Peshawar, was DG of the ISI from June 2019 to October 2021. Hameed, who can also be from the Baloch Regiment, hails from Latifal village in Chakwal district in Pakistan’s Punjab.

He was given cost of the XI Corps in October 2021, following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Hypothesis is rife that the then ISI chief Lt Gen. Hameed was given cost of the XI Corps to pave the best way for his appointment as military chief.

Lt Gen. Hameed has additionally served as DG of inner safety within the ISI and commanded the sixteenth infantry division in Pannu Aqil in Sindh when he was a significant basic.

His private equation with General Bajwa goes again a few years. As a brigadier, Lt Gen. Hameed served as chief of workers to Common Bajwa, who was a subject command officer with the X Corps in Rawalpindi on the time.

Whereas many speculated in 2019 that Common Bajwa’s extension would enhance Lt Gen. Hameed’s possibilities of taking on as COAS, the latest political turmoil in Pakistan could have upset such calculations.

PM to take remaining name in November

Pakistan’s Structure empowers the Prime Minister to nominate the Chief of Military Workers.

Whereas these 4 senior officers are being seen as believable contenders, sources instructed ThePrint that the ultimate resolution will relaxation with PM Shehbaz Sharif. A state of affairs may additionally come up that elections are known as and Sharif is asserted the caretaker prime minister on the time of Common Bajwa’s retirement.

Nonetheless, three elements will finally form the affect of the decision-maker — the consensus candidate proposed by serving generals, Common Bajwa’s advice, and the seniority precept.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

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