Saturday, September 22, 2007

On Latest Changes in the Military: Loyalty to Musharraf is the name of the game

Comment on Recent Changes in Pakistan Army:
According to insiders:

1. Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj is known for his total loyalty to Musharraf and hence his appointment as Director General ISI - the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan. Within the army circles he is known for his humble demeanor, professionalism, and aloofness from all things politics. Some believe that it may mean downgrading of ISI and Taj's task will be to depoliticise ISI.

2. Lt. Gen. Mohsin Kamal, a Kashmiri, is known for his bravery under fire, competence, and extensive knowledge of the area that he will be commanding (10 Corps covers Kashmir region, Northern areas and is responsible for securing sensitive nuclear sites). He is especially popular among the younger generation of army officers. It is likely that he will rise to become army chief in three years.

3. Lt. General Javed Zia played an important role in Karachi as Director General Rangers and was tasked to ensure good working relations between MQM and PML-Q in Sindh. He is known for his political insights vis-a-vis the Karachi scene.

4. Lt. Gen. Shujaat Zamir Dar led the anti-Bugti campaign in Baluchistan. Many in the army are surprised at his promotion. However, it is unlikly that he will get a command position (as corps commander) in future.

5. Lt. Gen. Jamil Haider, after apprenticeship with Lt. Gen. Kidwai, will be taking over as director general C41 (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) - a sensitive job in the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA). He is known in army circles for his excellent coordination during the 2005 earthquake relief work.

Changes made in key army positions
By Iftikhar A. Khan: Dawn, September 22, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Sept 21: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Friday made some changes in key army positions, appointing a new head of the Inter Services Intelligence and commander of the Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps from among six major-generals promoted to the rank of lieutenant-generals.

Maj-Gen Nadeem Taj, once regarded as Gen Musharraf’s eyes and ears as head of the Military Intelligence, has been made director-general of the ISI and Maj-Gen Mohsin Kamal, who is little known in non-military circles, has been appointed as Corps Commander of Rawalpindi.

As a brigadier, Gen Nadeem Taj had served as Gen Musharraf’s military secretary. He was later promoted as a two-star general, but he continued to serve in the same capacity when the army chief became the president.

Later, he was appointed head of the Military Intelligence and apart from performing his routine job, he played a key role in overseeing the 2002 general elections and, at a later stage, in initiating a back-channel dialogue with Benazir Bhutto, chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party.

Maj-Gen Kamal served as the commandant of the Staff College, Quetta, and was currently posted as Force Commander of Northern Areas.

The two officers will take up their new assignments in October. Nadeem Taj will take over from Lt-Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani and Mohsin Kamal from Lt-Gen Tariq Majid.

The announcement of the two appointments has highlighted the importance of both Lt-Gen Kiani and Lt-Gen Majid as being front-runners for the two posts of four-star generals which will fall vacant on Oct 8 with the retirement of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Gen Ehsanul Haq, and Vice-Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS), General Ahsan Saleem Hayat.

Some keen followers of defence-related matters are of the view that after the appointment of the new ISI chief and the 10 Corps Commander, there is a strong possibility that names of the new CJCSC and VCOAS will be announced soon.

Besides Maj-Gen Taj and Maj-Gen Kamal, an ISPR announcement says, Maj-Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar, Maj-Gen Javed Zia, Maj-Gen Muhammad Asghar and Maj-Gen Jamil Haider have also been promoted to the rank of three-star generals.

Maj-Gen Dar has been appointed director-general of the Anti-Narcotics Force. As a brigadier, he served as deputy chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, commander of the Infantry Division and head of the counter-insurgency operation in Balochistan as inspector-general of the Frontier Constabulary. During his Balochistan assignment, Maj-Gen Dar and his deputy, Brig Saleem Nawaz, were injured when their helicopter came under fire in the Kohlu area.

Maj-Gen Zia, currently Commander of Rangers in Sindh, and Maj-Gen Zamir Haider have been posted to the General Headquarters. Their posts are yet to be announced.

Lt-Gen Asghar has been appointed rector of the National Institute of Science and Technology.

Also See, related news items and analysis at Stratfor, BBC, The News (especially)

1 comment:

Haris said...

There is no big deal in these promotions. End of August corps commanders conference was supposed to have the promotions board and everyone knew about this meeting and the only exception can be the media. The number is no surprise deal either, the promotions are made on merit and are not based on the number of seats available. This final promotion board is called the ratifications board and before this final board there are 9 other boards in which all the corps commanders are present. All the officers that are to be promoted are decided before the ratification board and this is more like a formality.

So, no surprise and no "shake up" and "loyalty issue" by Musharraf. Remember Oct 2001, when Gen. Usmani was replaced there all joy of Musharraf brining his own was business as usual