New Delhi: In an interview with Pakistans Geo news, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said, "The process will start rolling on Monday, and hopefully, the decision of this whole matter will be before you by next week, and the new army chief's name will be revealed."
The defence minister pounded Imran Khan, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, for making the process controversial and casting aspirations on the candidates for the next army chief.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said the next army chief's appointment would be settled in a "day or two."
Imran Khan alleged that Pakistan’s Muslim League –(Nawaz) or PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif wanted to influence the appointment of the next army chief "The army chief is a professional soldier Nawaz tries turning that person into the Punjab police chief. I know Nawaz will tell the army chief to get somehow rid of Imran Khan," he said, adding that the PML-N leader was not "used to playing with a neutral umpire."
Imran also claimed that Nawaz would urge the new army chief to wrap up the litany of corruption cases against him and not hold elections until he was sure he could win.
Former President Asif Zardari and Chief of the Pakistan People's Party or PPP said that he firmly believed in the procedure for promotion in the army. Commenting on the appointment of the next army chief, Zardari added that all three-star Generals should not be politicised at any cost." He warned that making the process political would harm the institution.
Zardari said that Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would decide on the next army chief according to the law.
The current Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is set to retire on November 29, 2022. In terms of its power, Pakistan's armed forces are ranked as the 9th most powerful in the world, according to Global Firepower.
Pakistan's political relationship with its army has always been of prime importance. It has become more critical as the former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has directly taken cudgels with the military. Even some quarters blamed the recent attempt to murder Imran Khan on the handiwork of the Pakistan army intelligence agency.
It is for the first time seen in Pakistan that several voices are speaking against the hegemony role of the Pakistan army and intelligence agencies suppressing the political democracy of the country.
Also Read: Appointment of New Pakistan Army Chief begins in Pakistan
A complete disagreement exists between the ruling Pakistani government, the cadres of the Pakistani military, and political parties, more so of former prime minister Imran Khan.
For India, the appointment of the new Pakistani army chief will be equally important as the next military strategy of Pakistan, which usually controls the political decision of the country matters.
India has suffered at the hands of the Pakistan army and its wings, supporting violence and terrorism in Jammu, Kashmir, and other parts of India. India always remains politically sensitive to these prospects at the policy level in Pakistan as much needs to be dealt with by Pakistan's new army chief, especially issues along the Line of Control and the International Border.
India, Washington DC, Russia, Riyadh, Beijing and many other countries are observing the unfolding in Pakistan.
According to Sputnik International, here is the list of the top six generals after General Bajwa who may be considered for the highest position.
Lieutenant General Asim Munir a close ally of General Bajwa since he commanded troops in the Force Command Northern Areas as a brigadier under the incumbent COAS, who was, at the time, Commander X Corps.
Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza
Lt-Gen Mirza had an impressive career in the army, particularly in senior leadership positions as he served as director-general military operations (DGMO) and ran crucial military operations against Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militants in North Waziristan.
Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas
Currently, Lt-Gen Azhar Abbas is the Chief of General Staff (CGS), which means that he is directly running the army in both operational and intelligence directorates at GHQ. He is known to be the most experienced in Indian affairs and has commanded the 12th Infantry Division based in Murree, from where he was in charge of Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Lieutenant General Nauman Mehmood
Lt-Gen Mehmood is currently president of the National Defence University and he belongs to the Baloch regiment. After he was promoted to a three-star general, Lt-Gen Mehmood was appointed Inspector-General of Communications & Information Technology at the GHQ in 2019.
Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid
Gen Bajwa and Lt-Gen Hamid have reportedly known each other for a long time and Gen Bajwa posted Hamid as Director-General (Counter-Intelligence) at ISI, where he was in charge of internal security and political affairs. Later on he was promoted and appointed as Director General of the ISI.
Lieutenant General Mohammad Amir
Lt-Gen Amir is at present commanding the XXX Corps in Gujranwala. Previously he had also served as Director-General Staff Duties at the COAS Secretariat, which enabled him to gain insight into the GHQ and senior command positions.