new appointees: CJCSC Gen. Ehsan and VCOAS Gen. Ahsan
Reshuffles Generals as Lord of the Ring
M T Butt
October 2: General Pervez Musharraf has made his move and like
the Lord, swinging his lash in the middle of the Ring, he has
thrown another five of his junta members out of the circus, promoting
two others he thinks are more loyal to him than others.
latest shuffle involves promotion of ISI Chief Lt. General Ehsan
ul Haq to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee,
replacing the most feared but controversial General Mohammed Aziz
Khan, the man Musharraf projected in private sessions with American
leaders as the fundo who may take over and reverse their war against
the Islamic radicals.
appointing General Ehsan, Musharraf not only demonstrated a blatant
disregard but publicly degraded the Pakistan Navy Chief, Admiral
Shahid Karimullah, who as a matter of seniority, should have been
named the new Chairman of JCSC, a largely ceremonial post with
no real authority or manpower to command.
the other key appointment was made to replace the largely docile
and obedient General Mohammed Yousuf, or Joe, the Vice Chief of
Army Staff. His replacement would be the man who would take over
the circus, or the country, should anything happen to the Ring
key appointment went to Corps Commander, Karachi, Lt Gen Ahsan
Saleem Hayat, an officer of the Armored Corps who ranked number
four in Pakistan Army’s seniority list. He has apparently
been rewarded for the recent assassination attempt on his life
in Karachi in which several others died but he survived.
the three officers senior to him and who are now expected to go
home, one, Lt. General Hamid Javed, is already on an extension,
while the other two, Lt Gen Munir Hafeez (currently heading the
National Accountability Bureau) and Lt Gen Javed Hasan of AK regiment
are scheduled to retire on October 30.
having superceded them, means they will go home a few days before
they were required to go in any case, unless of course they had
proven to be more loyal to the King than others. It is now obvious
Musharraf preferred others on these not-so-loyal colleagues.
Gen. Ehsan ul Haq, who will become a General and Chairman of JCSC
on October 7, will feel his wings clipped as he was the pivot
who ran the political, security and military show for General
Musharraf as ISI Chief. He will have hardly anything exciting
to do in his new position. He will miss the action more so because
he was also head of the Military Intelligence before he was brought
in as the trusted guy to replace almost disgraced Lt. General
Mahmud, the man, who with Lt. Gen. Aziz, brought Musharraf to
power but was sacked under US pressure.
Musharraf himself is on his third extension as a General since
1998 when he was appointed Army chief by Nawaz Sharif, he
has been constantly shuffling the pack of his commanders, as an
astute commando who could not trust any one, for any extended
he took over on October 12, 1999, Musharraf has moved 38 commanders
among the nine Army Corps, not allowing any General to settle
Click to see the list
Generals have been brought in and kicked out of the most critical
Rawalpindi Corps, or 10 Corps, being the closest to the nerve
and power center of Islamabad. On average, in 5 years, six Generals
came in and were moved out, thus no one was even allowed to complete
a full one year.
five Generals each changed places in nearby Peshawar and Gujranwala
Corps, four each were shuffled in and out of Mangla, Multan, Lahore
and Bahawalpur Corps and three each at Karachi and Quetta Corps.
short all the power players around Musharraf have been kept on
the move, not allowed to settle down in one place lest they may
start consolidating or plotting against the chief.
latest reshuffle came within hours of Musharraf returning from
his extended foreign trip to US and Europe as almost everyone
was waiting, and speculating whether the last batch of the Generals
who brought Musharraf to power while he was still in mid air would
go out quietly and who may replace these loyalists who were ultimately
out-maneuvered by Musharraf.
pro-establishment analysts and writers (Ikram Sehgal of the Defence
Journal for one) were openly declaring that Musharraf’s
main criteria in naming his Vice Chief will not be competence
or merit but loyalty. Just a day before the shuffle, Sehgal wrote
in The Nation: “One major factor is sacrosanct,
the acid test for four-star selection will be personal loyalty
to Pervez Musharraf.”
is an irony in this acid test which all incumbents in the hot
seat of power have either ignored or do not care about. Almost
by design, all those who were appointed because they appeared
to be the most loyal, turned out to be instrumental in throwing
out their benefactors.
can begin with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who thought General Zia ul
Haq was his “chowkidar” (personal guard)
as Zia would himself patrol the residence at nights where ZAB
was staying. It was Zia who ousted Bhutto.
named General Aslam Beg but did not directly face the situation,
though many fingers still point at Beg as the man responsible
for Zia’s C-130 crash.
Ishaq Khan named General Abdul Waheed Kakar, superceding many
seniors. It was Kakar who forced GIK and Nawaz Sharif to hand
over their resignations at the height of the crisis in 1993.
Sharif then appointed General Asif Nawaz and he so hated Nawaz
that when he died it was universally believed that Nawaz Sharif
and his IB Chief Brig Imtiaz had something to do with his death.
Even his dead body was exhumed and tested for poisoning.
again appointed General Jehangir Karamat who called for setting
up of the National Security Council and was forced to resign which
led Sharif to name General Musharraf who then stabbed the man
in the back.
all these appointees were considered to be the most loyal to the
men in power, at that given time, but turned out to be the villains.
Musharraf has selected his own loyalists after cleansing the Army
of all those who brought him to power or shared it with him in
some form for the last 5 years.
Musharraf is not naïve and his next move would be to invite
all these now retired colleagues for a drink at his home and offer
them some lucrative position or a post where they could sit over
money making machines.
examples of Lt. General Mahmud Ahmed and Jehangir Karamat are
recent examples, besides a horde of Generals who have now come
to be known as the Directors of Pakistan Military Incorporated.
will soon have some more ex-Generals turned corporate CEOs heading
newly acquired civilian corporations.