What the an­a­lysts say ...

Southasia put a set of 5 ques­tions to three em­i­nent an­a­lysts about the ap­point­ment of the next COAS and CJCSC. Their an­swers fol­low.

Southasia - - COVER STORY - Ques­tions:


1. Who in your opin­ion will be Pak­istan’s next Army Chief as well as the next CJCSC?

2. Do they have to be the se­nior-most gen­er­als or can the line be bro­ken?

3. Do you think it will be a dif­fi­cult task for Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif to name the next COAS, con­sid­er­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence with Pervez Mushar­raf?

4. What, in your opin­ion, should be the ideal cre­den­tials of the Chief of Staff of the Pak­istan Army as well as of the Chair­man, Joint Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee?

5. Should the se­lec­tion of Army COAS in Pak­istan be given the kind of im­por­tance that it is get­ting?

Tas­neem Noorani

1. It is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict which of the five top gen­er­als will be se­lected as the Chief. How­ever, if the PM’s state­ment of re­spect­ing se­nior­ity this time is taken se­ri­ously then it will be one of the two se­nior-most. Con­sid­er­ing his past ex­pe­ri­ence, it is un­likely that the PM will re­peat the same mis­take again.

2. Pro­mo­tions in the army are based on se­nior­ity-cum-fit­ness ba­sis, so the line can be bro­ken.

3. Since all the con­tenders are three-star gen­er­als and have passed through a rig­or­ous se­lec­tion process, com­pe­tence-wise there is not much dif­fer­ence be­tween them. How­ever, some per­son­al­ity traits can tempt the de­ci­sion-mak­ers in fa­vor of the more amenable one.

4. He should be pro­fes­sion­ally ac­knowl­edged and per­son­ally liked by the rank and file. He should not be deemed to be backed by any per­son­al­ity nor should be be­holden to any for­eign power for be­com­ing the Chief.

5. Con­sid­er­ing the im­pact that the pre­vi­ous army chiefs have had on the life of the or­di­nary man, no won­der this ap­point­ment is de­bated every­where in the coun­try and it should be.

Tas­neem Noorani is a politi­cian and a re­tired bu­reau­crat who served as Sec­re­tary In­te­rior, Com­merce, In­dus­tries & Pro­duc­tion and Fi­nance.

Jamshed Ayaz Khan

1. Get­ting into a guess­ing game for ap­point­ment of the coun­try’s top mil­i­tary com­man­ders would not be ap­pro­pri­ate. I would, there­fore, not like to sug­gest any names for ap­point­ment as the next CJCSC or COAS. I would, how­ever, em­pha­size that a proper pro­ce­dure be laid down for eval­u­at­ing the suit­abil­ity of of­fi­cers for ap­point­ment in th­ese im­por­tant po­si­tions. De­vi­a­tion from the laid down pro­ce­dure could lead to dis­as­trous re­sults.

2. Of­fi­cers con­sid­ered for th­ese po­si­tions do not have to be the se­nior-most gen­er­als. Ac­cord­ing to the SOP, three names of gen­er­als el­i­gi­ble for ap­point­ment as COAS or CJCSC, along with their ser­vice dossiers, are sent by GHQ to the Prime Min­is­ter. The sum­mary pre­pared for the PM also in­cludes eval­u­a­tion of their per­for­mance. The Prime Min­is­ter can ei­ther ap­prove one of the names rec­om­mended by the GHQ or may ask for ad­di­tional names if he thinks that he needs a larger list of of­fi­cers to choose from. The Prime Min­is­ter is the fi­nal au­thor­ity in th­ese mat­ters.

3. Whether it would be dif­fi­cult or easy for the Prime Min­is­ter to se­lect the next COAS would de­pend how con­fi­dent he is of his own po­si­tion as the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the coun­try. The PM’s strength and con­fi­dence would em­anate from his govern­ment’s abil­ity to de­liver on his party’s prom­ises made to the peo­ple dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign. Im­prove­ment of gov­er­nance, law and or­der, econ­omy and over­com­ing for­eign pol­icy chal­lenges will

go a long way in adding to his self-con­fi­dence. We may re­mem­ber that Nawaz Sharif did not hes­i­tate to re­move Gen. Ja­hangir Kara­mat as COAS though he made a sin­cere sug­ges­tion about form­ing a National Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. The wis­dom of Gen. Kara­mat’s sug­ges­tion has dawned on him af­ter 14 years.

4. Of­fi­cers con­sid­ered for ap­point­ment against th­ese two im­por­tant posts and in­deed for all se­nior ap­point­ments in the forces should be in­tel­li­gent, en­dowed with the abil­ity to an­a­lyse a sit­u­a­tion and syn­the­size var­i­ous ideas be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion. They should be up­right, ar­tic­u­late and sober and peo­ple of im­pec­ca­ble in­tegrity. Above all, they should be loyal to the state of Pak­istan and not to any in­di­vid­ual.

5. Ap­point­ment of top po­si­tions in the armed forces is given im­por­tance by all coun­tries of the world. Due con­sid­er­a­tion has to be given for se­lect­ing the most suit­able of­fi­cer as the COAS, as the in­cum­bent will be en­trusted with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­sur­ing the coun­try’s se­cu­rity from ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal threats. In most coun­tries, con­cerned state func­tionar­ies carry out dis­cus­sions and ar­rive at a de­ci­sion for the ap­point­ment of new com­man­ders. The dis­cus­sion is kept out of the pub­lic do­main. In our coun­try, the me­dia takes a great deal of in­ter­est in mat­ters re­lated to th­ese ap­point­ments for mainly two rea­sons. Our past ex­pe­ri­ence with re­gard to civil-mil­i­tary re­la­tions has gen­er­ated much in­ter­est among the com­mon peo­ple and se­condly 24/7 news chan­nels need ma­te­rial to fill avail­able air time.

Ma­jor Gen­eral (R) Jamshed Ayaz Khan is a de­fence and se­cu­rity an­a­lyst. He has served as the pres­i­dent of the In­sti­tute of Re­gional Stud­ies.

Abid Rao

1. In all fair­ness it is not ap­pro­pri­ate to name the in­di­vid­u­als in the run for the posts of CJCSC and COAS. The ac­tiv­ity of fore­cast­ing names in the me­dia in the past has of­ten harmed the in­di­vid­u­als and put wrong pres­sure on the Prime Min­is­ter/Pres­i­dent. As far as the post of CJCSC is con­cerned, the rules have not been fol­lowed since its for­ma­tion in the early 70s. The Joint Staff HQ has seen only one Chair­man from the Navy and one from the Air Force. This post is to be ro­tated be­tween the three ser­vices on an agreed for­mula, which has been vi­o­lated by the Army ev­ery time un­der a faulty ra­tio­nale. So is the case of the Head of National De­fence Univer­sity which has now been re­served for the Army only. The Prime Min­is­ter should ex­er­cise his pow­ers in se­lect­ing the CJCSC from the other two ser­vices i.e. PN and PAF.

2. In my per­sonal opin­ion, se­nior­ity is of lesser rel­e­vance. It is the pro­fes­sional suit­abil­ity of the ser­vice head. Se­nior­ity alone should not be the cri­te­rion. The line should be bro­ken if a more suit­able can­di­date is in the run. The Chair­man, Joint Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee, should, how­ever, be the se­nior-most as this post is merely cer­e­mo­nial in na­ture and he does not have op­er­a­tional forces un­der his com­mand.

3. What­ever hap­pened to Zul­fiqar Ali Bhutto in se­lect­ing Gen­eral Zi­aul Haq and Nawaz Sharif in se­lect­ing Pervez Musharaf should not de­ter the PM from se­lect­ing the next COAS. He has to rise above this fears and make a fair de­ci­sion which should be bet­ter for the in­sti­tu­tion. Our po­lit­i­cal gov­ern­ments have been dis­re­gard­ing the in­sti­tu­tions while se­lect­ing their heads and have, there­fore, harmed them rou­tinely in the past.

4. The post of CJCSC has been only cer­e­mo­nial in its func­tions. All ma­jor de­ci­sions are taken by the in­di­vid­ual ser­vices them­selves and oc­ca­sion­ally sent to the JS HQ for rat­i­fi­ca­tion. The ser­vices have re­duced the rel­e­vance of JS HQ in its ba­sic role in op­er­a­tional mat­ters in the past - al­most 40 years. The main player in this re­gard has been the Pak­istan Army which does not want any agency out­side the GHQ to be in­volved in the man­ag­ment of its af­fairs. Other ser­vices have also liked this ap­proach and, there­fore, adopted it in let­ter and spirit. The post of COAS, how­ever, needs a dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tion. The Pak­istan Army has the re­spon­si­bil­ity of de­fend­ing the ge­o­graph­i­cal bound­aries of the coun­try in the event of for­eign ag­gres­sion. There­fore, the COAS, in my opin­ion, should be the one who will en­gage his forces in the most ef­fec­tive man­ner against all ad­ver­saries. He should be bold, coura­geous and pos­sess sound judg­ment and, most im­por­tantly, the en­emy should ac­knowl­edge th­ese traits. This is an es­sen­tial el­e­ment that should not be ig­nored in the se­lec­tion of the COAS or other ser­vice chiefs. The rest of the qual­i­ties are sec­ondary in con­sid­er­a­tion.

5. Over a pe­riod, this has gained un­due im­por­tance and I con­sider it un­for­tu­nate. Much be­fore the time ar­rives, spec­u­la­tion starts to float in the me­dia. Pro­longed mil­i­tary rules are re­spon­si­ble for this sit­u­a­tion. A large num­ber of ex­tremely com­pe­tent of­fi­cers re­tire be­cause the COAS’ slot re­mains oc­cu­pied by mil­i­tary rulers like Gen­eral Zi­aul Haq (11 years) and Gen­eral Pervez Mushar­raf (9 years). The me­dia, in par­tic­u­lar, should avoid sen­sa­tional de­bates and re­port­ing on this sub­ject and the po­lit­i­cal gov­ern­ments should take ef­fec­tive con­trol in ex­er­cis­ing their con­sti­tu­tional rights.

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