Chief of Army Staff (Pakistan)

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Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army
General Qamar Javed Bajwa.jpg
General Qamar Javed Bajwa

since 29 November 2016
Ministry of Defence
Army Secretariat-I at MoD[1]
Abbreviation COAS
Member of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
Reports to Prime Minister of Pakistan
Minister of Defence
Seat General Headquarters (GHQ)
Rawalpindi Cantonment, Punjab, Pakistan
Nominator Prime Minister of Pakistan
Appointer President of Pakistan
Term length 3 years
Renewable only once
Precursor Commander-in-Chief
Formation March 3, 1972; 46 years ago (1972-03-03)
First holder General Tikka Khan
Succession On basis of seniority, subjected to the decision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Unofficial names Army Chief
Deputy Chief of General Staff
Vice-Chief of Army Staff
Salary According to Pakistan Military officer's Pay Grade(apex Scale)
Website Official website

The Chief of Army Staff (Urdu: سربراہ پاک فوج‎) (reporting name: COAS), is a military appointment and statutory office held by the four-star rank army general in the Pakistan Army, who is appointed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and final confirmation by the President of Pakistan.[2]

The Chief of Army Staff is a senior most appointment in the Pakistani military who is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee in a separate capacity, usually consulting with the Chairman joint chiefs to act as a military adviser to the Prime Minister and its civilian government in the line of defending the land borders of the country.[3] The Chief of Army Staff exercise its responsibility of command and control of the operational, combatant, logistics, and training commands within the army, in contrast to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.[3] Due to its stature, the Chief of Army Staff have been instrumental in enforcing martial laws against the civilian government due to the meltdown of a civil-military relations in the past decades.:168[4][5]

The appointment, in principle, is constitutionally subjected to be for three years but extension may be granted from the approval and recommendations of the Prime Minister by the President.[6] The Chief of Army Staff is based in the Army GHQ, and the current Chief of Army Staff is General Qamar Javed Bajwa, serving in this capacity since 29 November 2016[7][8][9]


Prior to creation of Pakistan from the partition of India on 14 August 1947, the senior military general officer commanding of the Pakistan Army were the ad-hoc appointments made by the Army Board of the British Army.[10]

The appointment was known as Commander-in-Chief who directly reported to the Governor-General who was also under British monarchs.:105[11] The first commander-in-chiefs of the army were senior officers of the British Army who commanded the amalgamated army of British and Pakistani army officers from 1947 until 1951.:105[11]

In 1969, the title of the army command was changed from "Commander-in-Chief" to "Chief of Staff" with President Yahya Khan acting as Commander-in-Chief and General A.H. Khan as Chief of Staff.:contents[12] On 20 March 1972, the post was renamed as "Chief of Army Staff" (COAS) with Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan elevated to four star rank to be appointed as army's first chief of army staff.:62[13]

The term of the superannuation was then constrained to three years in the office as opposed to four years and was made a permanent member of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.:62[13] Since 1972, there has been 10 four-star rank army generals to be appointed as chief of army staff by statue.[14] The Prime Minister approved the nomination and appointment of the Chief of Army Staff, with President confirming the Prime Minister's appointed choosing and nomination.[15]

The army leadership is based in the Army GHQ whose functions are supervised by the Chief of Army Staff, assisted by the civilians from the Army Secretariat of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).[1] The Chief of Army Staff exercise its responsibility of complete operational, training and logistics commands.:131[4]

There are several principle staff officers (PSO) that assists in running the operations of the Army GHQ:

Martial law and turnover

Due to the powers granted by the Constitution of Pakistan to assist the civilian government led by popularly-elected Prime Minister to control and command the law and order, the chief of army staff has been instrumental in instigating and enforcing the coups d'état against the civilian government and the Prime Minister.:40[16][17] In 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq was the first army chief who carefully planned a coup against Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when the right wing opposition instigated popular demonstration after the general elections held in 1977.[18]

After the Pakistan Army's performance in Kargil sector, Prime Minister Sharif terminated the commission of General Musharraf, as an army chief and chairman joint chiefs, but Musharraf refused to follow the orders by instigating and leading the military coup by turning over the government under his control on 12 October 1999.[19][20]

The army chiefs, including the previous army's commanders-in-chiefs, had justified their course of actions by noting to attempt to control the worsening of the law and order situation in the country, as in the case of Yahya Khan (1969):239[21] and General Zia-ul-Haq:239[21] (1977), or by attempting to revive the economic prosperity in a threat of financial crises, as seen in the case of General Ayub Khan (1958):contents[22][23] and General Pervez Musharraf (1999).:154[24]:254[25]

List of Chiefs of Army Staff

Order Name Rank Portrait Appointment Date Retirement Unit of Commission Decorations
1. Tikka Khan OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General 3 March 1972 1 March 1976 2 Fd Regt Arty HJ, HQA, SPk
2. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General Gen Muhammad Zia Ul Haq.jpg 1 March 1976 17 August 1988 13 Lancers
3. Mirza Aslam Beg OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General 17 August 1988 16 August 1991 16 Baloch NI(M), SBt
4. Asif Nawaz OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General 16 August 1991 8 January 1993 5 Punjab NI(M), SBt
5. Abdul Waheed Kakar OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General 11 January 1993 12 January 1996 5 FF NI(M), SBt
6. Jehangir Karamat OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General 12 January 1996 6 October 1998 13 Lancers NI(M), TBt
7. Pervez Musharraf OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General PervezMusharraf.jpg 6 October 1998 28 November 2007 16 (SP) Medium Regt Arty NI(M), TBt
Ziauddin Butt OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General 12 October 1999 12 October 1999
(Appointment lasted few hours)
Corps of EME HI(M)
8. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General Ashfaq Kayani.jpg 29 November 2007 29 November 2013 5 Baloch NI(M), HI(C)
9. Raheel Sharif OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General Raheel Sharif.jpg 29 November 2013 29 November 2016 6 FF NI(M),HI
10. Qamar Javed Bajwa OF-9 Pakistan Army.svg US-O10 insignia.svg General General Qamar Javed Bajwa.jpg 29 November 2016 Present 15 Baloch NI(M), HI(M)

Vice Chief of Army Staff

The Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS), is the post that is principle deputy and second-in-command (S-in-C) of the Pakistan Army, reporting under the Chief of Army Staff. The position was created in the existence of army chief is simultaneously the President of Pakistan, having taking over by imposing the martial law against the elected civilian government.:contents[26] The post is now nonexistence and no longer in commission with the army— the Chief of General Staff now serves as the second-in-command in the army leadership.[27]

The function and scope of the vice army chief was to "exercise and perform all the powers and functions vested in the chief of army staff under the law. rules, regulations, orders, and instructions for the time being in the force.":contents[26]

The vice army chiefs are considered to be the principle commander of the army but not altogether, as the vice army chief has to report to the army chief, specifically in taking decisions regarding the promotions.:contents[26] The post of the vice army chief is a senior position and its officer is a four-star rank army general.

List of vice chiefs of army staff

All persons mentioned below have served as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff with distinction of General Abdul Hamid Khan who acted as the 'Chief of Staff' (COS) of the army under General Yahya Khan who was the President of Pakistan and also the holder of the title 'C-in-C of the Army'.

Order Name Rank Photo Appointment Date Left Office Unit of Commission Decorations
± Abdul Hamid Khan General 25 March 1969 20 December 1971 10th Baloch HQA, SPk
1 Sawar Khan General 13 April 1980 23 March 1984 1st (SP) Med Regt Arty (FF) NI(M)
2 Khalid Mahmud Arif General Khalid Mahmud Arif.jpg 22 March 1984 29 March 1987 11th Cavalry (FF) NI(M), S Bt
3 Mirza Aslam Beg General 29 March 1987 17 August 1988 16th Baloch NI(M), S Bt
4 Yusaf Khan General 8 October 2001 6 October 2004 Guides Cavalry NI(M)
5 Ahsan Saleem Hayat General 7 October 2004 7 October 2007 33rd Cavalry NI(M)
6 Ashfaq Parvez Kayani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani-2009.jpg 8 October 2007 28 November 2007 5th Baloch NI(M), HI

See also


  1. ^ a b MoD, Ministry of Defence. "Organogram of MoD" (PDF). Ministry of Defence Press. Retrieved 22 July 2017. 
  2. ^ "Lt Gen Raheel appointed as new COAS, Lt Gen Rashad as CJCSC". The News. 27 November 2013. Archived from the original on 1 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Shabbir, Usman (2003). "Command and Structure control of the Pakistan Army". PakDef Military Consortium. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Inc, IBP (2009). Pakistan Intelligence, Security Activities and Operations Handbook - Strategic Information and Developments. p. 230. ISBN 9781438737225. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  5. ^ "New Pakistan army chief takes command". Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Will retire on November 29, Kayani confirms". The Express Tribune. 6 October 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "General Bajwa takes charge as Pakistan's 16th army chief". DAWN. 29 Nov 2016. Retrieved 29 Nov 2016. 
  8. ^ "Gen Bajwa assumes command as Pakistan's 16th army chief". The Express Tribune. 29 Nov 2016. Retrieved 29 Nov 2016. 
  9. ^ "Pakistan: Army and Paramilitary Forces". Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Lenze Jr (2016). Civil–Military Relations in the Islamic World. Lexington Books. ISBN 9781498518741. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Bajwa, Kuldip Singh (2003). "Kashmir Valley Saved". Jammu and Kashmir war, 1947-1948 : political and military perspective (google books) (1st ed.). New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications. p. 350. ISBN 9788124109236. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  12. ^ Cloughley, Brian (2016). A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781631440397. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Singh, Ravi Shekhar Narain Singh (2008). "Military and Politics". The Military Factor in Pakistan (googlebooks) (1st ed.). London, UK: Lancer Publishers. p. 550. ISBN 9780981537894. Retrieved 24 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "The Army Chief's". Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Zahra-Malik, Drazen Jorgic and Mehreen (26 November 2016). "Pakistan PM Sharif names General Bajwa as new army chief". Reuters UK. Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  16. ^ Cheema, Pervaiz Iqbal (2002). "Defence Administration". The Armed Forces of Pakistan (google books) (1st ed.). New York, U.S.: NYU Press. p. 225. ISBN 9780814716335. Retrieved 25 July 2017. 
  17. ^ Tudor, Maya (2013). The Promise of Power: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107032965. 
  18. ^ Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali. "If I was assassinated" (PDF). 
  19. ^ Burki, Shahid Javed (2015-03-19). Historical Dictionary of Pakistan. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442241480. 
  20. ^ Crossette, Barbara (1999-10-13). "COUP IN PAKISTAN -- MAN IN THE NEWS; A Soldier's Soldier, Not a Political General -- Pervez Musharraf". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  21. ^ a b Chitkara, M. G. (2003). Combating Terrorism. APH Publishing. ISBN 9788176484152. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  22. ^ Hashwani, Sadruddin (2014). The Truth Always Prevails: A Memoir. Penguin UK. ISBN 9789351188322. 
  23. ^ InpaperMagazine, From (8 October 2011). "Flashback: The Martial Law of 1958". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  24. ^ Gupta, J. B. Das (2002). Islamic Fundamentalism And India. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata. ISBN 9788178710136. 
  25. ^ Haqqani, Husain (2010). Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment. ISBN 9780870032851. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  26. ^ a b c Cloughley, Brian (2016). A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections. New York [u.s[: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781631440397. Retrieved 21 July 2017. 
  27. ^ "General's first gambit". The Indian Express. 16 December 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2017. 

External links

  • Official Pakistan Army website
  • Inter-Services Public Relations
  • PAF s' Chief of the Air Staffs
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