ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Wednesday thanked his top military commanders for extending support to him during his tenure. He said he took pride ‘in commanding one of the best armies’ in the world. He was chairing the Formation Commanders Conference (FCC) at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Kayani is set to retire by the end of this month as his six-year extended tenure comes to an end. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed that it was the last time that Kayani chaired the high-level meeting, which is held twice a year and is attended by corps commanders and all the principal staff officers.
A senior military official, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the conference discussed a whole range of internal and external issues. He said Kayani in his farewell address lauded the role of the army and the support given to him by his commanders in the discharge of his official responsibilities.
Who is going to succeed Kayani is a matter of speculation as the government has yet to make any official announcement in this regard.
Federal Information Minister Parvaiz Rashid has said that the announcement of the new army chief and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will be made on the day Kayani retires.
One source pointed out that the government was considering naming the new army chief ahead of Kayani’s retirement; but later it put off its decision in order to give ‘an honourable farewell’ to the incumbent.
“Had Kayani’s successor been named ahead of his retirement, he would have become a lame duck army chief,” said the source adding that this was the reason why the government delayed the announcement.
Chief of Logistics Lt Gen Haroon Aslam and Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood are considered to be the hot favourites for post.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2013.