by Wasim Iqbal
If Leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif stands by his commitment to strictly adhere to seniority when making appointments in the army, the tie for the slot of new Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) would be between two senior Lieutenant Generals as General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's three year extension expires on 28 November 2013.
During election campaign, Nawaz Sharif had said he will be the army chief's "boss" if voted back to power in the May 11 general elections. He also hinted that the current army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani would be replaced by the next "senior most" general when he retires in November.
In an interview to Indian news Channel on May 6, Mian Nawaz said, "I don't think he (General Kayani) will ask for any further extension or he will be interested in any further extension. I will go by the book; I will go by merit. Who so ever is the senior most, will have to occupy this...the next one, the next in line". According to current seniority list, Lieutenant General Muhammad Haroon Aslam, Chief of Logistics Staff (CLS), GHQ and Lieutenant General Rashid Mahmood, Chief of General Staff (CGS), GHQ are the senior most. Both will retire on 9 April 2014.
In the beginning of the current calendar year Lieutenant General Muhammad Haroon Aslam who had been working as Corps Commander Bahawalpur was given the charge as Chief of Logistics at GHQ and Lieutenant General Rashad Mahmood was appointed as the Chief of General Staff (CGS). The CGS is the senior most position in the army after the post of the CoAS. It is among the most important and coveted positions within the military, since the CGS is the institution's operations and intelligence head.
At present, the army has 2 full generals, 23 lieutenant generals and around 160 major generals. Seven Lieutenant Generals including Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif, Inspector General Training and Evaluation (IGT&E), GHQ, Lieutenant General Tariq Khan, Commander, I Corps, Mangla, Lieutenant General Muhammad Zaheerul Islam, DG Inter-Services Intelligence (DG ISI), Lieutenant General Salim Nawaz, Inspector General Armaments (IGA), GHQ, Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani, Commander, XI Corps, Peshawar, Lieutenant General Muzammil Hussain, Commander, XXX Corps, Gujranwala and Lieutenant General Sajjad Ghani, Quarter-Master General (QMG), GHQ are due to retire on 1 October 2014.
General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) is also due to retire on 6 October 2013. Defence sources said that high ranking officers of three services would be considered to replace Wynne.