The Pakistan Army is poised for a major reshuffle at the top as at least five senior generals will retire in the next two months, officials said. This will be one of the major reshuffles in the army’s top brass in recent years.
Those, who are set to retire in October this year, include Corps Commander Peshawar Lt General Khalid Rabbani, Corps Commander Mangla Lt General Tariq Khan, Corps Commander Karachi Lt General Sajjad Ghani and Corps Commander Gujranwala Lt General Salim Nawaz – who will doff their uniform on October 1.
But the retirement of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General Zaheerul Islam – also due in October – is being seen as the most crucial development.
One security official dispelled speculation about any differences between the ISI chief and the government triggered by the absence of Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam from recent meetings with the political leadership.
He pointed out that Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam might have skipped the meetings in line with his strategy to keep a low profile due to the ongoing ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ military operation in North Waziristan Agency.
The retirement of the DG ISI would no doubt test the skills of the prime minister, who has the authority to appoint the spy chief, although it appears difficult to think the federal government will take a decision without the army chief’s consent.
Meanwhile, the retirement of four corps commanders will provide an opportunity to Gen Raheel to appoint generals of his own choice on key slots. All the four corps commanders who will retire in October were promoted and appointed by the then army chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2014.