ISLAMABAD: Two-time Asian games gold medalist Vice Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah has been appointed as the new chief of the Pakistan navy.
President Mamnoon Hussain, who is also supreme the commander of the armed forces of the country, on Thursday approved Zakaullah’s promotion as a four star admiral and appointed him as the new chief of naval staff.
He will take charge of office on October 7 — the day outgoing Naval Chief Muhammad Asif Sandila will be retiring.
A keen yachtsman, Zakaullah had represented Pakistan in numerous international events including the 1984 Olympics (USA), 1986 Asian Games (South Korea) and 1990 Asian Games (China).
He won gold medals twice at the Asian Games and is the recipient of various other awards at International Sailing Championships.
Zakaullah was among the three other three star vice admirals of the Pakistan navy whose names were being considered for the top slot. Being vice chief of naval staff, he was the senior most among all serving vice admirals.
In the tenure post, the newly promoted admiral will command the navy for the next three years.
In a ceremony scheduled to take place at PNS Zafar Naval Complex in the federal capital on October 7, the outgoing naval chief will handover command of the Pakistan navy to the new chief.
According to the media wing of the Pakistan navy, Vice Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was commissioned in the Operations Branch of Pakistan Navy in June 1978.
On commissioning as officer, he won the coveted Sword of Honour from the Pakistan Naval Academy and was also awarded the chief of the naval staff gold medal at his graduation.
During his career, the admiral attained a vast experience of operational, training and command assignments, the Pakistan navy said.
His command appointments included Command of a Destroyer and 25th Destroyer Squadron, Commandant Pakistan Naval Academy, Commander Pakistan Fleet and Command of Multinational Maritime Task Force.
Some of his key staff appointments included Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Plans), Defence Attache in Qatar, Director General National Accountability Bureau (Rawalpindi), Chief Inspector (Navy), Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Training & Personnel), Naval Secretary and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Operations).
Before being appointed as the chief of the naval staff, he was serving as vice chief of naval staff at the naval headquarters Islamabad.
Zakaullah is a graduate of the Royal Naval Staff College in UK and National Defence University Islamabad. He holds a masters degree in Defence Studies from London University and an MSc (in War Studies) degree from the Quaid-e-Azam University.
The new navy chief also holds awards such as the Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military), Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military), Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Military), President’s Medal and President’s Award for Pride of Performance.