Having written to the defence ministry earlier in the week, now, the ministry has communicated a list of six names of candidates for new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to the Prime Minister Office (PMO).
According to sources in the PM House and the Defence Ministry, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had on Monday written to the relevant ministry, seeking nominations for the next chief of army staff.
Subsequently, Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had confirmed that a letter had been sent to the military high command to provide a list of eligible candidates.
PMO has also confirmed receiving the summary and deliberation to finalize one name for COAS among the proposed ones is underway.
Speaking in SAMAA TV program Red Line by Talat Hussain on Tuesday, Khawaja Asif had said that the entire process would take around 48 hours to complete and that a response to the ministry’s letter was expected either later on Tuesday or on Wednesday.
And later on Tuesday, a summary containing the short-listed candidates was sent to the prime minister.
Late night drama
Defence Minister Asif, however, later clarified that PM Shehbaz has yet to receive the communique and that receipt of the document at the PM Office will be confirmed at an appropriate time.
Meanwhile, the military’s media wing stated that the summary was sent to the Defence Ministry as per the established policy.
According to sources, the list sent by the military to the Ministry of Defence contains names of the six senior-most generals of the military.
Apart from picking the name of the next army chief, the prime minister will pick the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The names include (in no particular order of ranking)
Lt Gen Asim Munir (Quartermaster General at GHQ in Rawalpindi)
Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza (Commander Rawalpindi Corps)
Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas (Chief of General Staff)
Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood (President of the National Defence University)
Lt Gen Faiz Hameed (Commander, Bahawalpur Corps)
Lt Gen Muhammad Amir (Corps Commander Gujranwala)