Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa will retire this November.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan will have to make some critical decisions in November 2022 and select Pakistan’s next Army Chief and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
The next COAS and CJCSC will be chosen from the following senior generals of the Pak Army if the term of the current COAS General Bajwa is not extended.
Who is leading the race?
After the retirement of General Bajwa and General Nadeem Raza (CJCSC) in November 2022, Core Commander Rawalpindi Lt: General Sahir Shamshad Mirza will be the most Senior General.
He will be the front runner for both the important posts of COAS and CJCSC of the Pak Army.
Based on seniority, the other five officers of the Army include Lt: General Azhar Abbas, Lt: General Noman Mehmood Raja, Lt: General Faiz Hameed, Lt: General Muhammad Aamer, and Lt: General Chiragh Haider Baloch.
The Incumbent Director General of Army’s Secret Agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt: General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum Sheikh, is in 7th number in this list.
Lt: General Sahir Shamshad Mirza
After the current COAS and CJCSC, Lt: General Sahir Shamshad Mirza is the senior-most general in the Pak Army, and is currently serving as Core Commander Rawalpindi.
Before that, he was the Chief of General Staff at the General Headquarters of the Pak Army.
As a two-star general, he also served as Director General Military Operations and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 40th Infantry Division at Dera Ismail Khan.
This division has now been shifted to Okara. He belongs to the Malhal Mughalan area of District Chakwal in Punjab.
Lt: General Azhar Abbas
Lt: General Azhar Abbas is currently serving as the Chief of General Staff at the General Headquarters of Pak Army.
Prior to his current posting, he commanded the Rawalpindi Core and was the DG Joint Staff Headquarter.
He was also the personal secretary of Ex-Army Chief General Raheel Sharif. He also served as Commanding Officer of the 12th Infantry Division at Murree.
Interestingly, the last five CJCSCs of the Pak Army have previously held the post of Chief of General Staff.
Lt: General Noman Mehmood Raja
Lt: General Noman Mehmood Raja is the president of the National Defense University.
Before that, he was Core Commander Peshawar and Inspector General Communication & IT.
As Major General, he has also served in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Besides that, he has also served as DG Analysis and general Officer Commanding Infantry Division at Miran Shah. Lt: General Raja belongs to the Atwal area of Rawalpindi.
It is also important to mention that Lt: General Abbas, Lt: General Raja, and Lt: General Hameed belong to the Baloch Regiment.
Lt: General Faiz Hameed
Lt: General Faiz Hameed is currently fulfilling his responsibilities as Core Commander Peshawar.
In his career, the General has held the important posts of DG Inter-Services Intelligence and Adjutant General of Pak Army.
As Major General, he Commanded the Pannu Aqil Infantry Division and remained DG Counter Intelligence Internal Security Of ISI.
When he was Brigadier, he served with current COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa as Chief Of Staff at Rawalpindi Core.
General Hameed belongs to Lateefwaal District Chakwal.
Interestingly in the past, three former Core Commanders of the Peshawar Core have been appointed as Four-Star generals, i.e., General Sawar Khan, General Mirza Aslam Baig, and General Ehsan Ul Haq.
Lt: General Muhammad Aamer
Core Commander Gujranwala Lt: General Muhammad Amir belongs to the Artillery Regiment.
Before his current appointment, he served as Adjutant General of the Pak Army.
As Major General, he was GOC 10th Infantry Division Lahore and Director-General Staff at COAS Secretariat.
Lt: General Chiragh Haider Baloch
Core Commander Multan Lt: General Chiragh Haider Baloch is a Punjabi Baloch and belongs to Sahiwal.
Before that, he served as DG Military Training, DG Joint Staff Headquarter, and GOC Infantry Division Jhelum.
Lt: General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum Sheikh
Incumbent DG ISI Lt: General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum Sheikh has served as Core Commander Karachi, Commandant Staff College Quetta, and Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan.
He was also the Brigade Commander Waziristan and Kurram Agency.
Answers To Important Questions
According to traditions of the Pak Army, the outgoing Army Chief nominates and promotes the top candidates.
The Prime Minister then selects the next COAS and CJCSC from these promoted generals.
That is why Lt: General Mirza, Lt: General Abbas, Lt: General Raja, and Lt: General Hameed were promoted to the three-star rank in April 2019.
While Lt: General Aamer, Lt: General Baloch, and Lt: Sheikh were promoted in September 2019.
It is also important to note that the Major Generals whom the Army Chief is now promoting to the rank of Lieutenant General will join the race for the top post in November 2025.
But who will the Prime Minister choose? Will it be entirely at his discretion?
The most important question is whether the current Prime Minister will follow in the footsteps of former President Zardari and extend the tenure of the current Army Chief.
Or will he follow in the footsteps of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ignore the most senior officers.