Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to pick Pakistan’s next army chief from among four generals, and a key factor will be the officer’s views on India, a newspaper said on Sunday. The four officers in line to succeed incumbent General Raheel Sharif are Lt Gen Zubair Hayat, Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed, Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday and Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Dawn reported.
The daily quoted an unnamed politician close to the Prime Minister as saying that Nawaz Sharif would consider his working relationship with the officers who have interacted with him frequently. “In addition, the position of the candidates on political developments in the country … will also be a deciding factor.
“For this, it is said, the Prime Minister will be relying on intelligence reports he has been receiving,” the Dawn added. It said another consideration likely to be taken into account “would be the prospective candidates’ views on foreign policy issues, particularly ties with India”.
The Prime Minister holds a one-on-one consultation with the army chief on prospective candidates, it said. “Gen Raheel Sharif would not like to become controversial and would not like the Prime Minister to use his recommendation as an excuse to distort the seniority list,” a retired general was quoted as saying.
Lt Gen Hayat is from the artillery and the serving chief of general staff (CGS). His father retired as a major general while two of his brothers are generals. Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed is considered to have had a textbook career. He is currently serving as Multan corps commander. He belongs to the Azad Kashmir Regiment.
Lt Gen Ramday now leads the Bahawalpur corps and was previously president of the National Defence University in Islamabad. Lt Gen Bajwa is considered a dark horse “and someone who needs to be closely watched”, the Dawn said. He has extensive experience of handling affairs in Kashmir and the northern areas of the country.
The Dawn said all the candidates appeared to be evenly poised “and there are no clear front-runners”. Gen Raheel Sharif is set to retire at the end of November.