On the 29th of this month, the current Army Chief of Pakistan General Qamar Javed Bajwa is retiring and according to the Department of Public Relations of the Army (ISPR), his farewell visits to various formations are going on.
Along with the Army Chief, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Nadeem Raza is also retiring this month.
The federal government has to announce the appointment of the new chief of the army before the retirement of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and six senior lieutenant generals are included in this list.
The appointment of the army chief is the discretion of the prime minister?
Article 243 of the Constitution provides a very brief procedure regarding the most important post in Pakistan. According to clause three of Article 243, on the advice of the Prime Minister, the President will appoint the heads of the three services of land, sea and air and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Speaking to Urdu News, former Defense Secretary Lt. Gen. Retd. Asif Yasin, who himself has been a part of the process of appointing former Army Chief General Raheel Sharif as Defense Secretary, said that the Prime Minister has all the authority in this appointment and knows that. The outgoing army chief does not have much role in this, but in the past prime ministers have held an informal consultation with the outgoing army chief.
Lieutenant General Retired Asif Yasin said that according to the procedure mentioned in the constitution, the outgoing army chief will give the prime minister a list of the most senior generals from which he will choose the candidate of the army chief and send it to the president of Pakistan for approval. Will send.’
According to him, “no detailed process has been given in the constitution regarding the appointment of this most important position, i.e. Army Chief, while on the other hand, there is a long and wide process for the appointment of a class IV employee to a government job.”
“In Article 243 of the Constitution, only a few lines are mentioned, not even half a page regarding the appointment of service chiefs.”
He said that “since there is no detailed procedure or clear timeline for sending summary or return in the constitution and law, the guidance is taken from the prevailing procedure.”
Conventional method of sending appointment summary
According to the prevailing procedure, fifteen days or two weeks before the retirement of the Army Chief, the Prime Minister’s Office writes a letter and requests a summary for the appointment of the Army Chief from the Ministry of Defense.
The Ministry of Defense then asks the Army Chief for a list of names. According to government 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.
Since the two posts of Army Chief and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee are vacant, it is expected that the Army Chief will send five names to the Prime Minister through the Ministry of Defense.
For two of these positions, the Prime Minister will promote two lieutenant generals to become generals and send a recommendation to the president to appoint them as army chief and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Along with the list of names sent to the Prime Minister, each officer has a service file which mentions his past service.
After the approval of the President, the notification of the appointment of the Army Chief and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will be issued.
At present, the names of senior lieutenant generals for the post of army chief include Lt. Gen. Asim Munir, Lt. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt. Gen. Azhar Abbas, Lt. Gen. Nauman Mehmood, Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed and Lt. Gen. Amir Raza.
How is summary confidentiality maintained?
Former Defense Secretary Lieutenant General Retired Asif Yasin said that correspondence regarding the appointment of the Army Chief is done manually and the officers take this summary from the Ministry of Defense to the Prime Minister’s House.
Even from the Prime Minister’s House, the officers themselves take it to the President’s House and bring it back. The whole process is aimed at maintaining the confidentiality of this important deployment.
How are names chosen?
Lt Gen Retired Asif Yasin says that ‘an officer’s seniority is determined by the date of his commission and that date determines his seniority for the rest of his life.’
The Army Chief has to send a list of five qualified persons in the order of seniority, but traditionally, a Lieutenant General appointed for the post of Army Chief must be from the fighting corps and have served in a corps for one year. Be commanded too.’
He further said that the qualification for the appointment of the Army Chief is that the concerned officer is currently a uniformed officer of the Army and has not extended his tenure.
Before the appointment of General Raheel Sharif in the year 2013, the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked the then Army Chief for a list of five names which was provided.
Lieutenant General Retired Asif Yasin says that “after that, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Principal Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad asked for five more names, but the Prime Minister chose General Raheel Sharif who was ranked third from the first summary.”
“The new army chief is sometimes announced months before, like General Asif Nawaz’s name was announced three months ago.”
The former defense secretary says that sometimes the name is announced only a few days before, like the appointment of the current army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was announced only two days ago.
Army chief appointment rules are unclear?
Colonel Inam-ul-Rahim, an expert on laws related to the army, while talking to Urdu News, said that the procedure for the appointment of the army chief is written in the constitution, but there are no further details in this regard even in the army act.
He disagreed with Lt. Gen. Retired Asif Yasin and said that “there is no such requirement in the Army Act to become the Army Chief if the concerned general is not on the extension.”
He said that the rules for the appointment of the army chief are vague. He gave an example and said that former army chief and military president General Pervez Musharraf wrote in his book that he was suddenly appointed by the prime minister in October 1998 before his appointment. There was a call from the office to come and meet.
On this, he immediately reached there without informing the then Army Chief, General Jahangir Karamat, then he was told by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he was being appointed as the Army Chief.
According to Inamul Rahim, “Later he came out and told General Jahangir Karamat that he has been appointed as the Army Chief.” He says that “no summary was sent in this process.”