RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani is set to take on the responsibilities of the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), at least till the government completes its consultations for a successor, Express News reported on Monday.
The decision comes after the incumbent CJCSC General Khalid Shameem Wynne stepped down from the office owing to his retirement.
Wynne is set to retire on October 8 after completing 42 years of active service, three of them as the CJCSC.
Speculations over a replacement have been rife as the government did not announce names of a successor, either for General Wayne, nor for Army Chief General Kayani who retires on November 29.
In a statement released from the Prime Minister’s house on Monday, the government said that names for the posts will be announced after “comprehensive considerations.”
“While expectations regarding announcement of successor to outgoing CJCSC, before October 8, and retirement of Army Chief, on November 29, are reasonably important issues which need comprehensive considerations.”
The statement added that the prime minister has decided to announce successors for both posts “at the same time.”
The army chief had tried to tone down speculation over his post by announcing on Sunday that he will hang up his uniform on November 29.
Sources said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants to revamp the office of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) and make Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani its head.
One senior intelligence official earlier told Reuters that Nawaz planned to overhaul the JCSC, a largely ceremonial office, into a “central defence body” by restoring its command over the entire military establishment and giving it additional powers.
“The new JCSC chief will be in charge of the nuclear arsenal. He’ll decide on action against terrorists,” said the source, adding that new powers included the right to promote, post and transfer key military officers.
“Basically, the JCSC office will be what it was always supposed to be. The overall boss.”
A defence ministry official privy to the development had told The Express Tribune that a summary had been prepared for the appointment of a new CJCSC.
The formal proposal includes the names of Pakistan Navy chief Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, Lt General Haroon Aslam from Pakistan Army and Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt as potential candidates.
Speaking on condition of anonymity the official said the names were shortlisted based on seniority. Both Sandila and Butt are the senior-most officers in their respective forces while General Aslam will be the senior-most military officer in the army after the retirement of army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.