Extensions do not need govt’s approval: Army

February 21, 2010

As promotions of senior officials in the Army are becoming the centre of focus in the national politics, the Pakistan Army has officially clarified that extension in services of lieutenant generals is purely the prerogative of the Army chief and does not need the federal government’s approval.

Director-General Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told The News that the COAS can extend the service of any serving lieutenant-general without any ratification from the federal government. “The cases of promotion are sent to the federal government for approval, but, according to rules, there is no need to get approval in case of extension in service of a lieutenant-general,” the Army spokesman said.

This issue is being considered very important because the extension in service of any of the lieutenant generals retiring this year would have significant impact on the present seniority list.

Lt-Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat, Lt-Gen Tanvir Tahir, Lt-Gen Mohammad Ashraf Saleem and Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are retiring in March this year; Lt-Gen Ijaz Ahmad Baksh and Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed in May; and Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Lt-Gen Shahid Iqbal, Lt-Gen Zahid Hussain and Lt-Gen Mohammad Asghar are retiring in October this year.

The ISPR chief’s statement has also raised question marks on some news reports that a summary for the extension in services of some top Army generals is being or has been sent to the Prime Minister Secretariat through the Ministry of Defence.

It has also been reported that Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Corps Commander Peshawar, was given extension last year by the COAS without any approval from the federal government.

The second most important issue is the appointment of CJCSC which would definitely have an impact on the appointment of COAS. This appointment will be made six weeks prior to the appointment of the Army chief (if the PPP government does not extend the service of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who is retiring on November 28, 2010).

The incumbent CJCSC General, Tariq Majeed, will retire on October 8, 2010. Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz told The News that after creation of this office some thirty years back, this position was given to the services chiefs in rotation. However, during the tenures of Gen Zia and Gen Musharraf this criteria was not followed and this office remained with the Pakistan Army.

Lt-General Hamid Nawaz was of the view that this time the position should be offered to some top official of the Pak Navy or the PAF keeping in view the tradition of democratic governments in the past.

This issue is being considered very important as this position could be used to manipulate the appointment of the COAS. If a junior officer is pushed up, others may be forced to retire, thus creating space for the desired officer, many analysts think.

According to Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid, a major-general is retired on reaching the age of 57 while a lieutenant general is retired either on reaching the age of 58 or completing the four-year tenure, whichever comes first. He explained that if a major-general is promoted as lieutenant general at the age of 56 he will be retired after two years on becoming 58 and if he was promoted as lieutenant general at the age 52 he will stand retired after four years at the age of 56.

Hamid said that the COAS is always made form the armoured, artillery or infantry corps of the Pakistan Army and lieutenant-generals from the engineering or services corps are not considered.

Following this principle and considering all lieutenant-generals who will retire this year, the seniority list will be as follows on November 28, 2010 (the date Gen Kayani will retire):

1- Lt-Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne (retiring on March 8, 2011)

2- Lt-Gen Muhammad Yousaf (retiring on March 8, 2011)

3- Lt-Gen Syed Absar Hussain (retiring on March 8, 2011—never commanded any core)

4- Lt-Gen Javed Zia (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

5- Lt-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

6- Lt-Gen Mohsin Kamal (retiring on Sep 21, 2011óhe has opted for a office job because of health issues)

7- Lt-Gen Jamil Haider (retiring on Sep 21, 2011 ñnever commanded any core)

8- Lt-Gen Nadeem Taj (retiring on Sep 21, 2011)

In case ISI chief General Pasha is given extension by the COAS, he will be on the 12th position and Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Mustafa Khan will be on number 13 on the seniority list.

According to Gen Hamid, for being a suitable candidate to become COAS, command of a corps is almost a mandatory condition. Some experts say that the present seniority list is also the result of tactical and strategically planned promotions and appointments by ex-Army chief and military dictator General Pervez Musharraf.

These experts said that during Kayani’s tenure as COAS, appointments and promotions were made on merit. At the same time, they fear that any mistake by the political rulers of the country may lead to handing over the command of the Pakistan Army to someone very close to Musharraf.

These experts also say that while making recommendations for the next COAS, the issue of illegal allotment of agricultural farmhouse adjacent to that of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz at Chak Shahzad, could also be considered by the relevant influential circles.

These experts say that in fact the equally important appointment will be that of CJCSC. If he is taken from the Pakistan Air Force or the Pakistan Navy as per the democratic tradition, issues could be resolved amicably. Otherwise, if some junior-lieutenant general is promoted as general to make him the CJCSC, those senior to him will have to resign keeping in view the Army norms and that could possibly open a Pandora’s box which will pave the way for political appointments.

General Aslam Baig was of the view that the outgoing COAS sends a list of five senior lieutenant-generals to the federal government four months prior to his retirement, and the government can appoint anyone from this list keeping in view the criteria and cannot go beyond this list.

However, Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz was of the view that the federal government had full powers only in case of appointment of the COAS, and it could appoint any of the senior lieutenant generals for the position.




  1. Though this is a reproduced from “the news”,it would have been better to keep it away from the common man
    as the nation keeps the Armed Forces in high esteem and that image should not be dented.

  2. Anyone ever thought for a while why Zardari is not giving up his powers under the criteria of his own “Charter of Democracy” which in it self us a big fraud?

    Well now you have it. He want to be in a position to appoint a COAS of his own choice in his struggle to consolidate power and open up the way to his son and future PPP PM Bilawal

    A change of command is never a good idea when the country is fighting wars. Atleast I would
    love to see Kiyani for two more (but then final)
    years as the COAS as he has proved him self worth in Swat and SW.

  3. By the way, any one seen as even a little close to a dictator should be forcefully retired ASAP.

    Pluss, political appointments in the armed forces have always backfired and produced overly ambicious officers who have acted beyound their mandate.

    Dictator Zia hanged PM Zulfikar and dictator Chutia exiled PM Nawaz.

    • And as the history says,dictator Ayub disqualified all politicians and exiled Suhrawardy(Quais’s comrade)and he died in Beirut,which made Bengalis agianst West Pakistan,finally becoming Bangladesh.

      • Well, history of the Bengali Muslims and the North West Muslims is very complexed to be punpointed down to one single issue. But this was one if the many issues which finally made the Bengali part ways. It already started during The Quaid’s time but lets face it: what has the Bengali Muslims gained by becoming a seperate mini country? If it was poverty then its higher there and if it was democracy then they produced the most incompetant dictators one after the other. Logically Bangladesh should have been reunited with West Bengal under the Indian Republic or in a seperate country. But I guess Hindustan were neither too happy with offering a province if their nor accepting 100 million Bengali Muslims.

        What use is there of millions of Muslim garherers each year in Bangladesh and lakhs of Hajj pilgrims when they already dont believe in the unity of the Muslim Umma and joined hands with the Hindus to destroy the
        largest Muslim country in the 70’s.

        May Allah guide us all!

    • You r an extremist!

      Stick to the topic. Who gets appointed should not be ur concern. Army know whats best for them.

      People like u need a dictator.

  4. @Shah,
    Why you are deviating from the topic.

    Question was dictators,and Ayub Khan was worst of them all.He showed the way to others.His sons were going around the country looting and killing people.How General Motor became Gandhara.

  5. Extentions only need American approval.

    Recent arrests of Good Talibans & the extentions~ very very interesting!

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