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Imran Khan’s extension to Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa to affect 20 Generals

Gen Bajwa will now be serving till November 2022. By then 20 generals of Pak Army will have retired, ET has learnt. Top eight generals of Pakistani are set to retire in December 2020 ahead of Bajwa’s term denying them a chance to take a shot at the top post.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jan 15, 2020, 06.21 PM IST
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Pakistan's PM Imran Khan
NEW DELHI: The Imran Khan government’s amendment bill in Pakistan National Assembly last week to give current Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa extension till 2022 sidestepping Supreme Court’s decision will impact career and promotion of 20 Pakistani Army Generals.

Gen Bajwa will now be serving till November 2022. By then 20 generals of Pakistan Army will have retired, ET has learnt. Top eight generals of Pakistani are set to retire in December 2020 ahead of Bajwa’s term denying them a chance to take a shot at the top post.

Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar who would have been the senior most general had Bajwa retired in November 2019 was sent to retirement and put under house arrest, according to persons familiar with the developments.

Even after Bajwa's extension notification was first issued in August 2019, there were high chances of Sattar succeeding the then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayyat. Bajwa instead promoted Gen Nadeem Raza to that post.

“Reports from Pakistan indicate that the number two in the Pak army Lt Gen Sarfraz had been kept under house arrest and has been finally forced to resign. If true this confirms suspicions that the Pak army is a divided lot over the extension of Gen Bajwa. This is also a dangerous development because it is the chain of command that is critical in the army. Once there is dissent, the army chief loses credibility and the authority to command. This could fuel a lot of discontent in the Pak army and worse,” Tilak Devasher, member of India’s National Security Advisory Board told ET.

The list of Generals who will retire before Bajwa‘s extended term ends include Humayun Aziz, Naeem Ashraf, Sher Afghan, Qazi Mohammad Ikraam, Bill Akbar, Mohammad Afzal, Azhar Saleh Abbasi, Majid Ihsan, Abdullah Dogar, Moazzam Aijaz, Nadeem Zaki, Shaheen Mazhar, Abdul Aziz, Asim Munir, Syed Mohammad and Waseem Ashraf.

“The amendments in Army Act 1952 have been made to legalize the martial law for an indefinite time period under the guise of the fake civilian supremacy in this so-called democracy. Now the Prime Minister can advise the president to extend COAS’s (also Navy’s and Air Force’s chiefs) tenure by 3 years,” according to Ali Salman Andani, an analyst who follows Pakistani politics closely.

“Now that the constitution itself authorizes the PM to extend the term of the chiefs, he would have no reason to show reluctance to help the Army Chief secure his individual interests,” Andani noted.

Pakistan’s National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, on Tuesday passed three crucial bills to give extension to Bajwa for another three years.

Bajwa, a close confidant of Khan, was to retire on November 29 last year at the end of his three-year original term but Prime Minister Imran Khan gave the 59-year-old Army chief another extension of same length citing regional security situation through a notification on August 19.

Pakistan Supreme Court on November 28 suspended the government order, observing that there is no law to give extension to the Army chief's tenure. The apex court granted a six-month extension to Gen Bajwa.

ET had reported then reported that seven Generals of the Pakistan Army joined hands with Supreme Court Chief Justice Khosa to block proposed move to grant three-year extension to Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

ET had then reported that seven Pak Army Generals including one who had served as a Defence Attache in Pakistan High Commission in Delhi were opposed to the move to grant three-year extension to Gen Bajwa as the Army Chief as this would have spoilt their chances for the coveted post as they would have retired within the three year period.

The Khan government after initial hesitation secured the support of the main Opposition parties and introduced three bills in the National Assembly to extend the retirement age from 60 to 64 years for the chiefs of army, navy and air force, and the chairman of the joint chief of staff committee

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