ISLAMABAD: The army on Tuesday announced 12 major generals had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, setting the stage for a major reshuffle in the top brass ahead of the change in command at the end of next month.
The promoted generals, according to ISPR, are Maj Gen Inam Haider Malik, Maj Gen Fayyaz Hussain Shah, Maj Gen Nauman Zakria, Maj Gen Mohammad Zafar Iqbal, Maj Gen Ayman Bilal Safdar, Maj Gen Ahsan Gulrez, Maj Gen Syed Aamer Raza, Maj Gen Shahid Imtiaz, Maj Gen Mohammad Munir Afsar, Maj General Babar Iftikhar, Maj Gen Yousaf Jamal, and Maj Gen Kashif Nazir.
It is rare to see such a big number of promotions to the rank of lieutenant general at one time. The promotions in the Army had been overdue for almost a year though these elevations are normally said to be done on the basis of vacancies.
The 12 newly promoted generals would be taking up the positions vacated due to the retirement of three lieutenant generals in mid of October 2021, one in July this year and five at the end of September. Those who had retired a year ago were Lt Gen Majid Ehsan, the then IG Arms, Lt Gen Amir Abbasi, the then QMG, and Lt Gen Hamooduz Zaman Khan, the then Commander of Army Air Defence Command.
Lt Gen Moazzam Ejaz, then Engineer in Chief, had retired in July, while the five generals who retired a few weeks ago are then Lahore corps commander Lt Gen Abdul Aziz; then DG Strategic Plans Division Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, then Mangla corps commander Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood, then IG Training and Evaluation Lt Gen Syed Mohammad Adnan, and then DG Joint Staff Headquarters Lt Gen Waseem Ashraf.
The tenth slot fell vacant after the martyrdom of Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali, then corps commander Balochistan, in a helicopter crash during flood relief operations on Aug 2.
Two more generals have been promoted in anticipation of the promotion of two lieutenant generals to fill the impending four-star vacancies due to the upcoming retirement of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Promotions at this level in the army are the sole prerogative of the COAS. But traditionally the chiefs hold informal consultations with other senior generals while taking these decisions.
The latest promotions are being seen as one of the more consequential decisions taken by Gen Bajwa ahead of his retirement as the 12 promoted officers would form a major chunk of the team that the new chief would inherit in November. All eyes would now be on the posting of the promoted officers, which would be done soon by GHQ. Several important positions are currently lying vacant.
Gen Bajwa, shortly after his appointment in 2016, got an opportunity to promote seven major generals, which helped him set up his own team. The seven positions had on that occasion fallen vacant due to promotion of two officers to four star ranks, while four others quit after being superseded.
Among the newly promoted officers, a few of them had worked closely with Gen Bajwa. These officers are Vice Chief of General Staff-A Gen Nauman Zikriya, DG ISPR Gen Babar Iftikhar, and DG Perspective Planning Cell Gen Ayman Bilal Safdar.
Gen Inam Haider Malik was director general works and chief engineer, Gen Fayyaz Hussain Shah was DG Doctrine and Evaluation at Training and Evaluation Branch, Gen Ahsan Gulrez was DG Military Training at Training and Evaluation Branch, Gen Mohammad Zafar Iqbal was Officiating Commander, Army Air Defence Command, Gen Syed Aamer Raza was HIT chairman, Gen Shahid Imtiaz was Commandant of the School of Infantry & Tactics, Quetta, Gen Munir Afsar was IG Frontier Corps (South), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gen Yousaf Jamal was DG National Logistics Cell, and Gen Kashif Nazir is from the Corps of Engineers and was last year holding an influential position in ISI.
Nearly 20 major generals were superseded in this exercise, but there weren’t many big surprises, barring a couple or so.