This is how new army chief is appointed in Pakistan
Over the past few weeks, Pakistan’s politics seem convergent on one issue: appointment of new chief of army staff (COAS), as the government is expected to announce the name next week.
Outgoing COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa is retiring on November 29. He was granted a three-year extension in the tenure by Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government on November 29, 2019.
According to Clause 3 of Article 243 of the Constitution, the president will appoint the heads of the three-armed forces and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee on the advice of the prime minister of the country.
As per the procedure mentioned in the Constitution, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) writes a letter and requests a summary from the ministry of defence.
The ministry seeks names of the most senior generals from the outgoing army chief.
After receiving the list, the COAS sends a list comprising names to the premier.
As per the rules of business, for any government appointment, if one post is vacant, three names are sent and if two appointments are to be made, five names are sent. Now, two posts including the COAS and chairman of joint chiefs of staff committee will get vacant. Hence, the outgoing army chief is expected to refer five names to the prime minister via defence ministry.
For two of these key positions, the prime minister will promote two lieutenant generals to generals, and he will send a recommendation to the president to appoint them as army chief and chairman joint chiefs of staff committee.
After the approval of the president, the notification of the appointment of the new army chief and the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee will be issued.
Seniority, qualification of officers
According to military experts, along with the list of names sent to the prime minister, each officer has a service file which mentions their past service.
The seniority of an officer is determined from the date of his commission and that date determines his seniority.
The army chief has to send a list of five eligible candidates in order of seniority, but traditionally, a Lt. General appointed to the post of the COAS belongs to the fighting corps and served there for at least a year.
PM finalizes names
According to the latest reports obtained through sources, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has completed homework on the summary sent by the defence ministry.
Sources have reported that the premier is willing to appoint the new chief on the basis of seniority, without bypassing any candidate.
On the same issue, he has completed consultations with important federal ministers, aides, and his confidantes.
Announcement till Nov 25: Asif
Defence Minister Khwaja Asif met with PM Shehbaz ahead of finalization of name for key point.
He said that the procedure has started and the defence ministry will forward the summary in the next two days.
Asif said that they had also deliberated over the names with the coalition partners, adding that the new chief will come from five, six senior most army officials whose names were under consideration.