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Congratulations, General Kayani, on defeating ‘bad’ Taliban and ‘bad’ politicians at the same time – by Cyril Almeida

Coming full circle
Friday, 12 Feb, 2010

OUR boys in uniform have a spring in their step again. Domestically, they have taken on two enemies and appear to be winning: the civilian government has been reduced to parroting the army’s line on security issues, while the TTP is a significantly degraded force.

Regionally, they can barely suppress their grins. In a few short weeks, the Americans have gone from threatening a ‘Pakistan first’ option in the war against Al Qaeda and associated movements to desperately seeking someone in Islamabad, or more accurately Pindi, who can put them in touch with the Taliban’s so-called ‘reconcilable’ elements.

It’s not quite a wave of triumphalism that is sweeping over the army but there definitely is a widely shared sense of validation. And that should worry the rest of us.

Here’s why. To hear the generals tell it, they have fought a threat — the TTP — that has managed to inflict more damage on this country than all the damage caused by all the terrorists in the rest of the world put together.

Grimly, they show you the statistics by means of elegant charts and the human cost by means of disturbing photos. Look at what we fought, they seem to say, no one else in the world has done this in recent times.

All true. But they ignore one crucial question: why did we have to fight this fight in the first place? If violence spiked in 2006 and has been sustained by the militants at meteoric levels since, what were we doing between 2001 and then, and even before?There’s no glory in winning a war for a country if the war was never inevitable in the first place. On whose watch did the TTP grow into a monstrous force? Kayani may be winning plaudits for his battlefield victories in Bajaur, Swat and South Waziristan but it was his predecessor, Musharraf, who let the threat build up.

And since the army never fails to tell us that it is an ‘institution’ first and foremost, should it not apologise to the nation for its institutional mistakes? Forget the apology, should it not show more humility in claiming credit for what amounts to cleaning up a mess after creating it in the first place?

I wish this were only an issue about form and not substance. Such are the ways of the world and states that apologies and demonstrations of humility can often be beside the point. What’s done is done and the country needs to move on — but can it if the army, the self-appointed custodian of the country’s security policy, continues to live in denial?

Here’s the problem: there has long been a suspicion that the Pakistan Army lets tactics drive strategy, and the victories against the TTP may actually reinforce that disastrous approach.

The best explanation for what the army has done over the last year has been labelled, for want of a better name, the ‘prioritisation approach’. Crudely, it amounts to this: you attack me repeatedly and viciously and I will destroy you. Exhibit A: the militants in Swat and Baitullah/Hakeemullah’s TTP went on the rampage against the state, so they were made to pay the price.

But this approach suffers from two flaws: one, it tends to treat militant groups more as distinct entities than as an unholy cocktail; and two, it discounts the long-term role of ideology. Essentially, if Group A isn’t attacking us today, it doesn’t mean that it won’t tomorrow. In fact, if you connect the dots as objectively as possible, you will probably reach the conclusion that it will in some way.

The army has leapt at the possibility of reconciling/reintegrating the Afghan Taliban (not least because they ask, what’s the alternative?) but should you and me, the average Pakistani, be anything but scared of the possibility of a return to power of those men in our backyard, regionally speaking?

The last time it took them just a few short years to make a catastrophic misjudgement and allow Osama to let his imagination run murderously wild. Why should we expect them to behave any more responsibly after defeating the world’s only superpower? After all, in some ways that would be an even greater victory than the original mujahideen’s; the originals at least had the support of another superpower.

More problematically, the army’s ‘Taliban solution’ in Afghanistan will continue our disastrous policy of focusing on the Pakhtun population to the exclusion of other groups, and that too through the alternating lenses of Pakhtun nationalism and dogmatic religiosity.

In short, the Pakistan Army seems to have come through the crucible of the last decade with exactly the same ‘strategic’ thinking as it had going into the decade. Given the price this country has paid in that period, that should be an absurd proposition. Yet, the rough outlines increasingly appear to be the same.

Which is why we should be worried about that spring in the army’s step. The generals are so pleased about their ‘success’ in recovering the security situation inside Pakistan and the possibility of a big say in the future of Afghanistan that they seem to have skipped right past the bit about introspection over why we are where we are today.

It’s not that the generals needs to parade around the country in sackcloth and ashes and beg the people’s forgiveness — though the possibility would certainly delight some — but denial has never led to great policy or strategy or tactics anywhere.

A related point can help illustrate the problem. The army has come up with a response to why it did not launch a full-fledged counter-insurgency against the TTP earlier. The reason, the generals say, is that the state/army’s ‘centre of gravity’ was the local population and the wider public.

Until the public was convinced that the TTP was the enemy and had to be defeated, there was never the possibility of military success: locally, the population could have shielded the militants; nationally, the public could have pressured the government to halt the fighting.

Look, though, at the history of the country over the last 30 years and ask yourself this: who has sided with the Islamists and militants the most? Would not generals Zia and Musharraf top that list?

(Don’t scoff at the Musharraf claim: after all, the Islamist parties controlled two provinces and had their largest share in parliament in history on his watch.)

So it’s all well and good for the generals to claim that ‘public support’ to fight the militants wasn’t always there — but then they should also be honest and explain the army’s role in eliminating the possibility of that support existing earlier.

Yes, the reality is that the Pakistan Army will need to be at the forefront of the effort to defeat militancy in this country. But don’t confuse needing them with believing them. They may have earned our gratitude for fighting recently; trust, though, is a separate matter altogether.

cyril.a@gmail.com

Source: Dawn

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  • Govt offers Kayani two-year extension Sunday, February 14, 2010 By Absar Alam
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27249

    ISLAMABAD: The government has asked General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to accept an extension in his tenure as Chief of Army Staff for another two years. The verbal offer was made to sound out General Kayani whether he would agree to or turn it down.

    The move has been made to ensure continuity in Pakistan’s policy on the war on terror and it also has a nod from Washington as the Army has achieved remarkable successes in the war on terror under General Kayani’s command.

    General Kayani has not yet given his consent and is considering this offer, it was learnt.

    The offer of extension has come at a time when battle lines for a second round have been drawn between the government and the judiciary. It was learnt that the Army has communicated its decision to all stakeholders that it would prefer not to be seen taking sides.

    According to the sources, the extension in service cases of Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Muhammad Mustafa Khan, and DG ISI Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are ready to be sent to the prime minister and the president for approval.

    The ministry formed the recommendations on the basis of a consensus that emerged within Pakistan and outside after military’s successes in Swat, South Waziristan and other Fata areas.

    Although, the DG ISI has already given his consent to accept the extension, the cases of General Kayani and Lt-Gen Mustafa are still pending. Knowledgeable sources claim that General Mustafa, who retires in October this year, will accept the extension if only General Kayani decided to stay. Washington, which has already given an extension to its Centcom Chief General David Petraeus, has supported this move by Islamabad as it believes that such an extension would ensure continuity in Pakistan’s policy towards the war on terror.

    The decision is linked to the resolution of the ongoing confrontation between the judiciary and the government and the constitutional package that would ensure the supremacy of parliament vis-i-vis the president. The problem with Pindi establishment is that Washington is not comfortable with the perception of Zardari government’s governance style which is being equated with the corrupt Karzai administration in Kabul.

    “The US is not comfortable working with two corrupt administrations in two neighbouring countries which are at war with terrorists,” the sources said. The sources claimed that the establishment had no axe to grind and was making sincere but quiet efforts to play the role of a firefighter to end the confrontation between the executive and the judiciary.

  • JANG GROUP: Promotion, Seniority and SUO MOTO NOTICE OF CJSC OF PAKISTAN!!!!

    A request to their lordships of the Supreme Court who just recently humbled an elected govt. The ISPR announced that whilst promotions of generals are to be ratified by the govt, it is the army chief’s prerogative to give extensions to whichever general he wills. Suo motu notice, my lords? – File photo – As an aside, a request to their lordships of the Supreme Court who have just recently humbled an elected government all ends up. The ISPR has announced that whilst promotions of generals are to be ratified by the government, it is the army chief’s very own prerogative to give extensions to whichever general he wills. Suo motu notice, my lords? For, after all, all the organs of state are to remain within their own constitutional limits. Good news, bad news BY Kamran Shafi Tuesday, 23 Feb, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/13+kamran-shafi-good-news-bad-news-320-za-01
    By Kamran Shafi
    Tuesday, 23 Feb, 2010

    Govt offers Kayani two-year extension By Absar Alam Sunday, February 14, 2010
    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27249

    ISLAMABAD: The government has asked General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to accept an extension in his tenure as Chief of Army Staff for another two years. The verbal offer was made to sound out General Kayani whether he would agree to or turn it down. The move has been made to ensure continuity in Pakistan’s policy on the war on terror and it also has a nod from Washington as the Army has achieved remarkable successes in the war on terror under General Kayani’s command. General Kayani has not yet given his consent and is considering this offer, it was learnt. The offer of extension has come at a time when battle lines for a second round have been drawn between the government and the judiciary. It was learnt that the Army has communicated its decision to all stakeholders that it would prefer not to be seen taking sides.

    According to the sources, the extension in service cases of Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Muhammad Mustafa Khan, and DG ISI Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are ready to be sent to the prime minister and the president for approval. The ministry formed the recommendations on the basis of a consensus that emerged within Pakistan and outside after military’s successes in Swat, South Waziristan and other Fata areas. Although, the DG ISI has already given his consent to accept the extension, the cases of General Kayani and Lt-Gen Mustafa are still pending. Knowledgeable sources claim that General Mustafa, who retires in October this year, will accept the extension if only General Kayani decided to stay. Washington, which has already given an extension to its Centcom Chief General David Petraeus, has supported this move by Islamabad as it believes that such an extension would ensure continuity in Pakistan’s policy towards the war on terror. The decision is linked to the resolution of the ongoing confrontation between the judiciary and the government and the constitutional package that would ensure the supremacy of parliament vis-i-vis the president. The problem with Pindi establishment is that Washington is not comfortable with the perception of Zardari government’s governance style which is being equated with the corrupt Karzai administration in Kabul. “The US is not comfortable working with two corrupt administrations in two neighbouring countries which are at war with terrorists,” the sources said. The sources claimed that the establishment had no axe to grind and was making sincere but quiet efforts to play the role of a firefighter to end the confrontation between the executive and the judiciary.

    Kayani gives one more extension By Umar Cheema Sunday, February 21, 2010
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27384

    ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who previously extended the tenure of the corps commander, Peshawar, has now granted a one-year extension to another lieutenant general, as the DG ISI is the third in a row who is likely to be its recipient, all in a space of six months. Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar confirmed to The News that he and Prime Minister Gilani had been intimated about the extension to the general serving with the UN. The minister was reluctant to discuss the nitty-gritty terming it a sensitive issue. Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal has received a one-year extension that will come into effect from March 1, the day he will retire from service. He is currently abroad serving on deputation with the United Nations Peace Mission. After commanding the peace troops in Liberia, he is now believed to be stationed in New York, United Nations’ headquarters. His official engagement abroad has been cited a reason for extension in service, a senior Army official privy to the development said. The Army chief previously granted extension to the Corps Commander Peshawar, Lt-Gen Masood Alam, in November 2009. Sikandar is now second in the row and the DG ISI Ahmad Shuja Pasha retiring on March 18 is all set to receive one-year extension in no time.

    The extension in lieutenant general’s service was made the prerogative of the Army chief during Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s time when he was COAS-president. In Benazir Bhutto’s 2nd term in office, the issue again cropped up with the prime minister wanted to reclaim the lost authority of her office. But General Kakar had told Benazir Bhutto that the generals seeking extension would be running around the politicians in case the authority to do so was rested with the prime minister/president. Gen Kakar finally succeeded in retaining the authority of granting extension. However, Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz, former secretary defence, said that the extension requires approval from the federal government and cited the example of extension to Lt-Gen Kidwai. “Granting extension is considered the prerogative of the Army chief but he sends a summary to the federal government that is rarely objected to,” he said. Same kind of views was echoed by former ISI head, Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Gul. Another former secretary defence, Kamran Rasool, who is the only civilian, headed this ministry, when contacted, said no extension was granted during his time hence he was not aware of the rules about it.

    Extensions do not need govt’s approval: Army ISPR clarifies only promotions require ratification
    By Ahmad Noorani Sunday, February 21, 2010 http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27383

    ISLAMABAD: As promotions of senior officials in the Army are becoming the centre of focus in the national politics, the Pakistan Army has officially clarified that extension in services of lieutenant generals is purely the prerogative of the Army chief and does not need the federal government’s approval. Director-General Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told The News that the COAS can extend the service of any serving lieutenant-general without any ratification from the federal government. “The cases of promotion are sent to the federal government for approval, but, according to rules, there is no need to get approval in case of extension in service of a lieutenant-general,” the Army spokesman said.

    This issue is being considered very important because the extension in service of any of the lieutenant generals retiring this year would have significant impact on the present seniority list.
    Lt-Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat, Lt-Gen Tanvir Tahir, Lt-Gen Mohammad Ashraf Saleem and Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are retiring in March this year; Lt-Gen Ijaz Ahmad Baksh and Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed in May; and Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Lt-Gen Shahid Iqbal, Lt-Gen Zahid Hussain and Lt-Gen Mohammad Asghar are retiring in October this year.

    The ISPR chief’s statement has also raised question marks on some news reports that a summary for the extension in services of some top Army generals is being or has been sent to the Prime Minister Secretariat through the Ministry of Defence. It has also been reported that Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Corps Commander Peshawar, was given extension last year by the COAS without any approval from the federal government. The second most important issue is the appointment of CJCSC which would definitely have an impact on the appointment of COAS. This appointment will be made six weeks prior to the appointment of the Army chief (if the PPP government does not extend the service of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who is retiring on November 28, 2010). The incumbent CJCSC General, Tariq Majeed, will retire on October 8, 2010. Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz told The News that after creation of this office some thirty years back, this position was given to the services chiefs in rotation. However, during the tenures of Gen Zia and Gen Musharraf this criteria was not followed and this office remained with the Pakistan Army.

    Lt-General Hamid Nawaz was of the view that this time the position should be offered to some top official of the Pak Navy or the PAF keeping in view the tradition of democratic governments in the past. This issue is being considered very important as this position could be used to manipulate the appointment of the COAS. If a junior officer is pushed up, others may be forced to retire, thus creating space for the desired officer, many analysts think. According to Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid, a major-general is retired on reaching the age of 57 while a lieutenant general is retired either on reaching the age of 58 or completing the four-year tenure, whichever comes first. He explained that if a major-general is promoted as lieutenant general at the age of 56 he will be retired after two years on becoming 58 and if he was promoted as lieutenant general at the age 52 he will stand retired after four years at the age of 56. Hamid said that the COAS is always made form the armoured, artillery or infantry corps of the Pakistan Army and lieutenant-generals from the engineering or services corps are not considered.

    Following this principle and considering all lieutenant-generals who will retire this year, the seniority list will be as follows on November 28, 2010 (the date Gen Kayani will retire):

    1- Lt-Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne (retiring on March 8, 2011)

    2- Lt-Gen Muhammad Yousaf (retiring on March 8, 2011)

    3- Lt-Gen Syed Absar Hussain (retiring on March 8, 2011—never commanded any core)

    4- Lt-Gen Javed Zia (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

    5- Lt-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

    6- Lt-Gen Mohsin Kamal (retiring on Sep 21, 2011óhe has opted for a office job because of health issues)

    7- Lt-Gen Jamil Haider (retiring on Sep 21, 2011 ñnever commanded any core)

    8- Lt-Gen Nadeem Taj (retiring on Sep 21, 2011)

    In case ISI chief General Pasha is given extension by the COAS, he will be on the 12th position and Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Mustafa Khan will be on number 13 on the seniority list.
    According to Gen Hamid, for being a suitable candidate to become COAS, command of a corps is almost a mandatory condition. Some experts say that the present seniority list is also the result of tactical and strategically planned promotions and appointments by ex-Army chief and military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. These experts said that during Kayani’s tenure as COAS, appointments and promotions were made on merit. At the same time, they fear that any mistake by the political rulers of the country may lead to handing over the command of the Pakistan Army to someone very close to Musharraf. These experts also say that while making recommendations for the next COAS, the issue of illegal allotment of agricultural farmhouse adjacent to that of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz at Chak Shahzad, could also be considered by the relevant influential circles.

    These experts say that in fact the equally important appointment will be that of CJCSC. If he is taken from the Pakistan Air Force or the Pakistan Navy as per the democratic tradition, issues could be resolved amicably. Otherwise, if some junior-lieutenant general is promoted as general to make him the CJCSC, those senior to him will have to resign keeping in view the Army norms and that could possibly open a Pandora’s box which will pave the way for political appointments. General Aslam Baig was of the view that the outgoing COAS sends a list of five senior lieutenant-generals to the federal government four months prior to his retirement, and the government can appoint anyone from this list keeping in view the criteria and cannot go beyond this list. However, Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz was of the view that the federal government had full powers only in case of appointment of the COAS, and it could appoint any of the senior lieutenant generals for the position.

    Generals on extension never considered for top slots By Shakeel Shaikh Tuesday, February 23, 2010 http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27441

    ISLAMABAD: No three-star general either on extension or on ROR (retirement on return) will be considered either for the top slot in the Army as chief of the Army staff or for the office of chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) when the incumbent generals retire after serving their tenure. This was the crux of the lengthy discussion with several retired and serving senior military officers, who received with surprise speculations of putting some officers on extension or on ROR as potential candidates in the race for the new Army chief to succeed Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in November or Gen Tariq Majid in early October this year.

    Investigations reveal there would be two seniority lists to taken by Army Chief Gen Kayani to give extension to ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, there will be three lieutenant-generals (Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal and Lt-Gen Pasha) who would be on extension or on ROR. “Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal, presently Force Commander UN Mission in Liberia is on ROR and as such he would be retired immediately on his return from posting abroad and he stands no chance to be considered for the two big slots of generals,” said an official source. Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Corps Commander Peshawar, is also on extension for an unspecified period, as he was asked to continue for the sake of operation against the militants. “Lt-Gen Aslam is one of the finest soldiers in the Army and he has sacrificed a lot in the shape of Shahadat of his beloved son in an attack on a mosque located on the parade lane,” said a retired military official.

    Similarly, ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Pasha, who is all set to get extension, would continue to work in the ISI, as his shifting from the ISI to command corps does not arise, and he would retire from Pakistan Army without being considered for promotion to the rank of a four-star general. Military sources say it is the exclusive right of the Army chief to give one-year extension to any three-star general. However, for any further extension the Army chief has to secure approval of the federal government. Military sources say it is not relevant who is senior at present on the seniority list of three-star generals but it is most relevant who would be the senior-most officer at the time of appointment of chairman JCSC and Army chief later this year.

    They maintain seniority does not give a right to an officer for promotion to the next rank, particularly in the case of these two appointments. This constitutional right to appoint services chiefs rests with the president, though President Asif Zardari has decided in principle to endorse or accept the advice of the prime minister in all such appointments. He did it in case of appointments of naval chief and air chief and he is all set to accept the advice of the prime minister in case of appointments of Army chief and chairman JCSC. The ideal scenario, said a senior official, is that the senior-most officer with experience of both command and staff should be appointed to command Pakistan Army or get an appointment as chairman JCSC.

    This unwritten rule has hardly been observed by any civil ruler. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Gen Pervez Musharraf as Army chief by ignoring both the seniority plus the factor that by that time (October 1998) Gen Musharraf had not held a staff appointment as a three-star general, though he was holding a command position as corps commander. Similar is the case with other appointments made in the past. And the most prominent amongst others was the promotion and appointment of Gen KM Arif, who was promoted general without commanding corps. Many pre-2000 period military officers like Hameed Gul or Hamid Javed or others seem not fully aware of the importance of the Army Strategic Force Command (ASFC), its strength and above all the only factor which maintains “deterrence”, as everything is dependent on “deterrence” and the ASFC is the custodian of strategic assets of the country.

    The strategic force was established after 2000 and it turned into a force which forced India at least four times in the past to pull back from the international borders. India is not feeling threatened by conventional forces, including armoured, artillery, infantry or deployment of troops but the strategic force which controls, employs and deploys strategic assets like nuclear arsenal, missiles and their operations. “This unconventional force is the real force which maintains deterrence and those commanding this force should not be matched with commander of a conventional corps,” said a former military officer. Pakistan has nine corps with two command structures. The two commands are known as strategic force command and air defence command and they have whole of Pakistan under their command, not like the corps where a commander can operate being in-charge of specified or limited/designated area in Pakistan. Coming back to seniority issue, the first appointment would be open when October 7, 2010 comes nearer with retirement of Gen Tariq Majid. By October 7, 2010, Corps Commander Quetta Lt-Gen Khaliq Shamm Wyne will be on top of the seniority list of three-star generals. He would be followed by Command Strategic Forces Lt-Gen Syed Absar Hussain (commander of only unconventional force – artillery). Javed Zia (adjutant general-infantry) will be third on the seniority list. He has not yet commanded a corps but it is expected that he would be given corps by April this year. On No 4 will be POF Chairman Lt-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar (infantry) who has not yet commanded corps. Military Secretary Lt-Gen Mohsin Kamal (infantry) will be on No 5 position on the seniority list. He had already commanded a corps and now fully fit health-wise.

    Lt-Gen Jamil Hyder (inspector-general arms-artillery) will be on No 6th, with Lt-Gen Asghar (chairman Nust-engineering), Lt-Gen Nadim Taj (Commander Gujranwala Corps-infantry), Lt-Gen Tahir (Commander Rawalpindi Corps-infantry) and Lt-Gen Shahid (Commander Karachi Corps) are at No 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th positions, respectively. Both Gen Kayani (COAS) and Gen Tariq Majid (CJCSC) were promoted as generals in early October 2007. However, Gen Kayani got command of Pakistan Army from President Gen Musharraf on November 28, 2007. It simply means Gen Kayani got around 50 additional days as a four-star general, as he assumed the office of the Army chief on November 28, 2007.

    MORE ON PAGE 3 OF DAILY JANG LAST NEWS: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, Rabi-ul-Awwal 08, 1431 A.H
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/feb2010-daily/23-02-2010/main3.htm

  • A request to their lordships of the Supreme Court who just recently humbled an elected govt. The ISPR announced that whilst promotions of generals are to be ratified by the govt, it is the army chief’s prerogative to give extensions to whichever general he wills. Suo motu notice, my lords? – File photo – As an aside, a request to their lordships of the Supreme Court who have just recently humbled an elected government all ends up. The ISPR has announced that whilst promotions of generals are to be ratified by the government, it is the army chief’s very own prerogative to give extensions to whichever general he wills. Suo motu notice, my lords? For, after all, all the organs of state are to remain within their own constitutional limits. Good news, bad news BY Kamran Shafi Tuesday, 23 Feb, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/13+kamran-shafi-good-news-bad-news-320-za-01

  • Kayani gives one more extension By Umar Cheema Sunday, February 21, 2010
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27384
    ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who previously extended the tenure of the corps commander, Peshawar, has now granted a one-year extension to another lieutenant general, as the DG ISI is the third in a row who is likely to be its recipient, all in a space of six months. Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar confirmed to The News that he and Prime Minister Gilani had been intimated about the extension to the general serving with the UN. The minister was reluctant to discuss the nitty-gritty terming it a sensitive issue. Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal has received a one-year extension that will come into effect from March 1, the day he will retire from service. He is currently abroad serving on deputation with the United Nations Peace Mission. After commanding the peace troops in Liberia, he is now believed to be stationed in New York, United Nations’ headquarters. His official engagement abroad has been cited a reason for extension in service, a senior Army official privy to the development said. The Army chief previously granted extension to the Corps Commander Peshawar, Lt-Gen Masood Alam, in November 2009. Sikandar is now second in the row and the DG ISI Ahmad Shuja Pasha retiring on March 18 is all set to receive one-year extension in no time.

    The extension in lieutenant general’s service was made the prerogative of the Army chief during Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s time when he was COAS-president. In Benazir Bhutto’s 2nd term in office, the issue again cropped up with the prime minister wanted to reclaim the lost authority of her office. But General Kakar had told Benazir Bhutto that the generals seeking extension would be running around the politicians in case the authority to do so was rested with the prime minister/president. Gen Kakar finally succeeded in retaining the authority of granting extension. However, Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz, former secretary defence, said that the extension requires approval from the federal government and cited the example of extension to Lt-Gen Kidwai. “Granting extension is considered the prerogative of the Army chief but he sends a summary to the federal government that is rarely objected to,” he said. Same kind of views was echoed by former ISI head, Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Gul. Another former secretary defence, Kamran Rasool, who is the only civilian, headed this ministry, when contacted, said no extension was granted during his time hence he was not aware of the rules about it. Extensions do not need govt’s approval: Army ISPR clarifies only promotions require ratification By Ahmad Noorani Sunday, February 21, 2010 http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27383

    ISLAMABAD: As promotions of senior officials in the Army are becoming the centre of focus in the national politics, the Pakistan Army has officially clarified that extension in services of lieutenant generals is purely the prerogative of the Army chief and does not need the federal government’s approval. Director-General Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR) Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told The News that the COAS can extend the service of any serving lieutenant-general without any ratification from the federal government. “The cases of promotion are sent to the federal government for approval, but, according to rules, there is no need to get approval in case of extension in service of a lieutenant-general,” the Army spokesman said.

    This issue is being considered very important because the extension in service of any of the lieutenant generals retiring this year would have significant impact on the present seniority list.
    Lt-Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat, Lt-Gen Tanvir Tahir, Lt-Gen Mohammad Ashraf Saleem and Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha are retiring in March this year; Lt-Gen Ijaz Ahmad Baksh and Lt-Gen Nadeem Ahmed in May; and Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Lt-Gen Shahid Iqbal, Lt-Gen Zahid Hussain and Lt-Gen Mohammad Asghar are retiring in October this year.

    The ISPR chief’s statement has also raised question marks on some news reports that a summary for the extension in services of some top Army generals is being or has been sent to the Prime Minister Secretariat through the Ministry of Defence. It has also been reported that Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Corps Commander Peshawar, was given extension last year by the COAS without any approval from the federal government. The second most important issue is the appointment of CJCSC which would definitely have an impact on the appointment of COAS. This appointment will be made six weeks prior to the appointment of the Army chief (if the PPP government does not extend the service of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who is retiring on November 28, 2010). The incumbent CJCSC General, Tariq Majeed, will retire on October 8, 2010. Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz told The News that after creation of this office some thirty years back, this position was given to the services chiefs in rotation. However, during the tenures of Gen Zia and Gen Musharraf this criteria was not followed and this office remained with the Pakistan Army.

    Lt-General Hamid Nawaz was of the view that this time the position should be offered to some top official of the Pak Navy or the PAF keeping in view the tradition of democratic governments in the past. This issue is being considered very important as this position could be used to manipulate the appointment of the COAS. If a junior officer is pushed up, others may be forced to retire, thus creating space for the desired officer, many analysts think. According to Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid, a major-general is retired on reaching the age of 57 while a lieutenant general is retired either on reaching the age of 58 or completing the four-year tenure, whichever comes first. He explained that if a major-general is promoted as lieutenant general at the age of 56 he will be retired after two years on becoming 58 and if he was promoted as lieutenant general at the age 52 he will stand retired after four years at the age of 56. Hamid said that the COAS is always made form the armoured, artillery or infantry corps of the Pakistan Army and lieutenant-generals from the engineering or services corps are not considered.

    Following this principle and considering all lieutenant-generals who will retire this year, the seniority list will be as follows on November 28, 2010 (the date Gen Kayani will retire):

    1- Lt-Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne (retiring on March 8, 2011)

    2- Lt-Gen Muhammad Yousaf (retiring on March 8, 2011)

    3- Lt-Gen Syed Absar Hussain (retiring on March 8, 2011—never commanded any core)

    4- Lt-Gen Javed Zia (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

    5- Lt-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar (retiring on Sep 21, 2011—never commanded any core)

    6- Lt-Gen Mohsin Kamal (retiring on Sep 21, 2011óhe has opted for a office job because of health issues)

    7- Lt-Gen Jamil Haider (retiring on Sep 21, 2011 ñnever commanded any core)

    8- Lt-Gen Nadeem Taj (retiring on Sep 21, 2011)

    In case ISI chief General Pasha is given extension by the COAS, he will be on the 12th position and Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Mustafa Khan will be on number 13 on the seniority list.
    According to Gen Hamid, for being a suitable candidate to become COAS, command of a corps is almost a mandatory condition. Some experts say that the present seniority list is also the result of tactical and strategically planned promotions and appointments by ex-Army chief and military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. These experts said that during Kayani’s tenure as COAS, appointments and promotions were made on merit. At the same time, they fear that any mistake by the political rulers of the country may lead to handing over the command of the Pakistan Army to someone very close to Musharraf. These experts also say that while making recommendations for the next COAS, the issue of illegal allotment of agricultural farmhouse adjacent to that of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz at Chak Shahzad, could also be considered by the relevant influential circles.

    These experts say that in fact the equally important appointment will be that of CJCSC. If he is taken from the Pakistan Air Force or the Pakistan Navy as per the democratic tradition, issues could be resolved amicably. Otherwise, if some junior-lieutenant general is promoted as general to make him the CJCSC, those senior to him will have to resign keeping in view the Army norms and that could possibly open a Pandora’s box which will pave the way for political appointments. General Aslam Baig was of the view that the outgoing COAS sends a list of five senior lieutenant-generals to the federal government four months prior to his retirement, and the government can appoint anyone from this list keeping in view the criteria and cannot go beyond this list. However, Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz was of the view that the federal government had full powers only in case of appointment of the COAS, and it could appoint any of the senior lieutenant generals for the position.

    Generals on extension never considered for top slots By Shakeel Shaikh Tuesday, February 23, 2010 http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27441

    ISLAMABAD: No three-star general either on extension or on ROR (retirement on return) will be considered either for the top slot in the Army as chief of the Army staff or for the office of chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) when the incumbent generals retire after serving their tenure. This was the crux of the lengthy discussion with several retired and serving senior military officers, who received with surprise speculations of putting some officers on extension or on ROR as potential candidates in the race for the new Army chief to succeed Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in November or Gen Tariq Majid in early October this year.

    Investigations reveal there would be two seniority lists to taken by Army Chief Gen Kayani to give extension to ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, there will be three lieutenant-generals (Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal and Lt-Gen Pasha) who would be on extension or on ROR. “Lt-Gen Sikandar Afzal, presently Force Commander UN Mission in Liberia is on ROR and as such he would be retired immediately on his return from posting abroad and he stands no chance to be considered for the two big slots of generals,” said an official source. Lt-Gen Masood Aslam, Corps Commander Peshawar, is also on extension for an unspecified period, as he was asked to continue for the sake of operation against the militants. “Lt-Gen Aslam is one of the finest soldiers in the Army and he has sacrificed a lot in the shape of Shahadat of his beloved son in an attack on a mosque located on the parade lane,” said a retired military official.

    Similarly, ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Pasha, who is all set to get extension, would continue to work in the ISI, as his shifting from the ISI to command corps does not arise, and he would retire from Pakistan Army without being considered for promotion to the rank of a four-star general. Military sources say it is the exclusive right of the Army chief to give one-year extension to any three-star general. However, for any further extension the Army chief has to secure approval of the federal government. Military sources say it is not relevant who is senior at present on the seniority list of three-star generals but it is most relevant who would be the senior-most officer at the time of appointment of chairman JCSC and Army chief later this year.

    They maintain seniority does not give a right to an officer for promotion to the next rank, particularly in the case of these two appointments. This constitutional right to appoint services chiefs rests with the president, though President Asif Zardari has decided in principle to endorse or accept the advice of the prime minister in all such appointments. He did it in case of appointments of naval chief and air chief and he is all set to accept the advice of the prime minister in case of appointments of Army chief and chairman JCSC. The ideal scenario, said a senior official, is that the senior-most officer with experience of both command and staff should be appointed to command Pakistan Army or get an appointment as chairman JCSC.

    This unwritten rule has hardly been observed by any civil ruler. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Gen Pervez Musharraf as Army chief by ignoring both the seniority plus the factor that by that time (October 1998) Gen Musharraf had not held a staff appointment as a three-star general, though he was holding a command position as corps commander. Similar is the case with other appointments made in the past. And the most prominent amongst others was the promotion and appointment of Gen KM Arif, who was promoted general without commanding corps. Many pre-2000 period military officers like Hameed Gul or Hamid Javed or others seem not fully aware of the importance of the Army Strategic Force Command (ASFC), its strength and above all the only factor which maintains “deterrence”, as everything is dependent on “deterrence” and the ASFC is the custodian of strategic assets of the country.

    The strategic force was established after 2000 and it turned into a force which forced India at least four times in the past to pull back from the international borders. India is not feeling threatened by conventional forces, including armoured, artillery, infantry or deployment of troops but the strategic force which controls, employs and deploys strategic assets like nuclear arsenal, missiles and their operations. “This unconventional force is the real force which maintains deterrence and those commanding this force should not be matched with commander of a conventional corps,” said a former military officer. Pakistan has nine corps with two command structures. The two commands are known as strategic force command and air defence command and they have whole of Pakistan under their command, not like the corps where a commander can operate being in-charge of specified or limited/designated area in Pakistan. Coming back to seniority issue, the first appointment would be open when October 7, 2010 comes nearer with retirement of Gen Tariq Majid. By October 7, 2010, Corps Commander Quetta Lt-Gen Khaliq Shamm Wyne will be on top of the seniority list of three-star generals. He would be followed by Command Strategic Forces Lt-Gen Syed Absar Hussain (commander of only unconventional force – artillery). Javed Zia (adjutant general-infantry) will be third on the seniority list. He has not yet commanded a corps but it is expected that he would be given corps by April this year. On No 4 will be POF Chairman Lt-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar (infantry) who has not yet commanded corps. Military Secretary Lt-Gen Mohsin Kamal (infantry) will be on No 5 position on the seniority list. He had already commanded a corps and now fully fit health-wise.

    Lt-Gen Jamil Hyder (inspector-general arms-artillery) will be on No 6th, with Lt-Gen Asghar (chairman Nust-engineering), Lt-Gen Nadim Taj (Commander Gujranwala Corps-infantry), Lt-Gen Tahir (Commander Rawalpindi Corps-infantry) and Lt-Gen Shahid (Commander Karachi Corps) are at No 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th positions, respectively. Both Gen Kayani (COAS) and Gen Tariq Majid (CJCSC) were promoted as generals in early October 2007. However, Gen Kayani got command of Pakistan Army from President Gen Musharraf on November 28, 2007. It simply means Gen Kayani got around 50 additional days as a four-star general, as he assumed the office of the Army chief on November 28, 2007.

    MORE ON PAGE 3 OF DAILY JANG LAST NEWS: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, Rabi-ul-Awwal 08, 1431 A.H http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/feb2010-daily/23-02-2010/main3.htm