Speculation rife on new Pak Army chief amid ‘rift’ between govt, military

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As Pakistan army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure is about to end later this month, several media reports are claiming that the much-awaited formal process for appointment of a new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has begun.
Various media reports have claimed that Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office has received the summary from the ministry of defence regarding the appointment of a new army chief. However, some journalists have described the reports as speculation.
The Prime Minister’s Office on Monday received the summary from the ministry of defence regarding the appointment of a new army chief, The Express Tribune reported citing sources. The sources revealed that the names of five people have been mentioned in the summary.
The Prime Minister’s Office has not yet confirmed the development. A senior government official had refuted claims that there was a deadlock between the military and civil leadership over the appointment of Pakistan’s next Chief of Army Staff.
The high-ranking official while requesting anonymity said that “a clear picture will emerge by Monday evening regarding the process of appointment.”
Notably, the new army chief is due to assume duty on November 29 as the tenure of incumbent COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa will end after being in office for six years.
As per the report, many believe that former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s long march is linked to the change of command in the army. He has called on his supporters to gather in Rawalpindi on 26th November, two days before the change in army chief.
There have been speculations that the government and the army were not on the same page over the appointment of a new army chief. However, a top government official said, “There are no differences between the civil and military leadership on the issue. Everything is on track,” reports said.
The seniority list includes Lieutenant General Asim Munir, Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas, Lieutenant General Numan Mahmud and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed are in contention for the post of chief of army staff and chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, as per the news report.