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Raheel Sharif Only COAS Who Retired Without Extension In Last Two Decades

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Supreme Court is currently hearing the petition against extension in service of COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The apex court had earlier suspended the extension given to COAS General Bajwa and issued notice to COAS and the government. During the last 20 years, only General Raheel Sharif retired upon expiry of the constitutional term of 3 years. Here is a history of the country’s army chiefs.

When Pakistan became independent, the first commander in chief of the Pakistan Army was General Frank Messervy. In 1948, he was replaced by another British officier, General Douglas Gracey, the same person who had advised the then governor general of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah to not send the army into Kashmir.

The Pakistan Army got its first native commander in chief on January 17, 1951, when General Ayub Khan was given it command. General Ayub Khan only transferred the command to General Musa Khan Hazara in 1958 when he deposed Iskander Mirza from the presidency and appointed himself as the chief martial law administrator.

In the seven years while Ayub Khan was the commander in chief, seven prime ministers were changed; Liaquat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazimuddin, Muhamamd Ali Bogra, Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, Hussein Suhrawardy, I.I Chundrigar, and Feroze Khan Noon. After 1958, the country only had a prime minister in 1971, Noor ul Amin, who was dismissed after just thirteen days later on December 20, 1971. The position of the prime minister was restored after the 1973 constitution came into effect.

In 1966, general Musa Khan Hazara was replaced by General Yahya Khan, during whose era Pakistan split into two. General Yahya left his post on December 20, 1971.

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After General Yahya was relieved of the post of the commander in chief, Lieutenant General Noor ul Hassan was given the command, albeit only for two and a half months.

In March 1972, General Tikka Khan became the first chief of army staff of Pakistan. Four years later, the position was handed over to General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Just a year later, General Zia overthrew the government and became president of the country on July 5, 1977.

Initially, General Zia promised elections in three months, but the promise was fulfilled in 1975. During his time, the country’s prime minister had been judicially murdered and the country had involved itself in the Afghan jihad. In 1988, General Zia was killed in a plane crash near Bahawalpur.

General Mirza Aslam Baig, who was the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence at the time, was promoted to the post of chief of army staff. New elections were held in 1988, and Benazir Bhutto came to power.

General Baig completed his three years of his service, following whom General Asif Nawaz Janjua became the army chief in 1991. Two years later, General Janjua died of a heart attack in 1993.

On January 11 1993, General Abdul Waheed Kakar became the chief of army staff. General Kakar, who is famous for the ‘Kakar formula’, resolved the conflict between then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and president Ghulam Ishaq Khan by making both of them resign after the latter had dismissed the former’s government.

After General Waheed Kakar, General Jahangir Karamat started leading the army, only to be dismissed by Nawaz Sharif in October 1998. It is said that Karamat’s proposal to legalise the interference of the military in the government through the national security council was opposed by Nawaz Sharif.

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After dismissing General Karamat, Nawaz Sharif appointed General Musharraf to the position of the chief of army staff on October 6, 1998.

General Musharraf overthrew the government of Nawaz Sharif a year later. He would then go on to invent the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid in 2000 and rule for the next eight years.

In October 2007, Musharraf took part in the presidential elections while he was the COAS. A month later, he handed over the position to General Ashfaq Kiyani.

In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Elections took place two months later, in which the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid uprooted the PML-Q. Subsequently, Musharraf was threatened with an impeachment motion, and he resigned from his position.

General Kiyani was given an extension, the first time in history a civilian government had extended the army chief’s tenure.

In November 2013, General Raheel Shareef became the chief of army staff. General Raheel completed his tenure in November 2016.

In November 2016, General Qamar Javed Bajwa became the army chief. His tenure ends on November 28, 2019. The government had given General Bajwa an extension, but it has been challenged by the Supreme Court. The hearings are currently underway regarding the matter.


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Naya Daur