ISLAMABAD- Three of the senior most two-star generals have retired from the service while fresh postings have been assigned to four newly promoted major generals following an important reshuffle at the two-star general level at the Pakistan Army.
Ahead of an expected ground action in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA), a top military commander at an all important field formation is among the reshuffled lot. Maj Gen Ali Abbas Hyder, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7th Infantry Division Miranshah, NWA, has been replaced with Maj Gen Zafarullah Khan, one of the newly promoted two-star generals. Hyder has not been assigned any position immediately, it is learnt.
Three top generals in the seniority list of the army’s two-star generals reached the age of superannuation on Friday, according to informed military insiders. These are Maj Gen Ausaf Ali, Director General Operations at the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), Maj Gen Tahir Ashraf, DG Defence Exports Promotion Organisation (DEPO), and Maj Gen Ghulam Dastagir, DG Organisation and Methods at the GHQ. Ausaf Ali was the senior most Maj Gen followed by Tahir Ashraf whereas Ghulam Dastagir was fourth in the army’s seniority list of two-star generals. Following these three retirements, Maj Gen Khalid Rao, DG Special Communications Organisation (SCO), becomes the senior most two-star general. Previously, he was third in the seniority list. Including Faiz Muhammad Khan Bangash, the number of two-star generals having retired this year, so far, becomes four.
Moreover, of the four newly promoted two-star generals who have been assigned postings, three are from Infantry and one from Armoured Corps (AC). Maj Gen Hasnat Amir Gilani, AC, has been appointed as GOC 1st Armoured Division Multan. He has replaced Maj Gen Umar Farooq Durrani, who has been appointed as Vice Chief of General Staff (VCGS) at the Chief of General Staff (CGS) branch at the GHQ. This position was lying vacant lately. Hasnat Gilani is the senior most among the 30 two-star generals who were granted promotions last month and were awaiting promotions. He is the younger brother of Lt Gen Tariq Nadeem Gilani, the Chief of Logistics Staff (CGS), military insiders informed. Maj Gen Amir Abbasi, Infantry, has been appointed as GOC 10th Infantry Division Lahore. He has replaced Maj Gen Shahid Baig Mirza who has been appointed as Commandant Command and Staff College Quetta. Mirza has replaced Maj Gen Sohail Ahmad Khan who has been assigned the position of Vice Military Secretary (VMS) at the Military Secretary (MS) branch at the GHQ. Previously, Maj Gen Sadiq Ali was serving at this position. He is now the GOC 35th Infantry Division Bahawalpur, a position that was lately vacant, sources said.
Another newly promoted Maj Gen Majid Ehsan, Infantry, is deputed as Chief of Staff, Southern Command, Quetta. He has replaced Maj Gen Naseer Ali Khan who has not been assigned any posting immediately.
Maj Gen Zafarullah Khan, the GOC 7th Infantry Division Miranshah, is also from Infantry. Maj Gen Farhan Ali, Signals, was the first newly promoted two-star general to have been assigned a posting last week. He was appointed as Commandant Military College of Signals (MCS) Rawalpindi. The rest of 25 major generals are awaiting postings.
Moreover, all the three retired generals as well as Maj Gen Khalid Rao were promoted from brigadier to the major general rank in January 2007. These four generals were superseded in 2011 when some of their batch mates including Lieutenant General Sajjad Ghani, Corps Commander Karachi, Lt Gen Abid Pervaiz Corps Commander Multan and Nasser Khan Janjua Corps Commander Quetta were given promotions. Last month, another superseded Maj Gen Faiz Bangash had retired. He was DG Ordnance Services, a position presently held by Maj Gen Tariq Haleem Suri
Among those top five two-star generals who expect promotions this year in terms of seniority are: Maj Gen Naveed Ahmed, Sector Commander Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Sindh; Maj Gen Sohail Abbas Zaidi, Deputy DG ISI; Maj Gen Rizwan Akhtar, DG Sindh Rangers; Maj Gen Shehzad Sikander, DG Works; and Maj Gen Mian Hilal Hussain, DG Military Training. Three of their batch mates Zahid Latif Mirza, Ikram-ul-Haq and Obaidullah Khan Khattak were promoted last December. Mirza is presently Commander Army Air Defence Command; Haq is Inspector General Training and Evaluation; whereas Khattak is Commander Army Strategic Force Command.