Transfers, postings show army chief’s greater focus on internal security

Approximately 26 major-generals have reportedly been superseded and two entire Pakistan Military Academy regular courses have been passed over, informed sources told Business Recorder

Sources however cautioned that it is still too early to make a definitive assessment of the post-Raheel Sharif retirement promotions and transfers but added that a trend is evident from the recent senior level transfers and postings in the Pakistan Army which reflects the new Army Chief’s (domestic) policy focus.

There are several surprises both in the promotions as well as in the appointments. Key personnel changes during recent major reshuffle include the appointment of Lieutenant-General Naveed Mukhtar as Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) which could be indicative of General Bajwa’s policy of prioritising internal security.

Lieutenant-General Bilal Akbar has been given the second most powerful position in the Army, that of chief of general staff.

The two generals could impact on the operational focus of the institution as the two were part of the Sindh Apex Committee and had engaged in the Karachi Operation.

“These two appointments can be indicative of General Bajwa’s policy of prioritising internal security,” Secretary General of the Pakistan Ex-servicemen Association (PESA) Brigadier Syed Masood-ul-Hassan told Business Recorder.

He however acknowledged that transfers and postings in the Army were on the cards since long but added that former Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif left these decisions to his successor. Lieutenant General Talat Masood (Retd) when questioned on these postings stated that they are routine and added that whenever there is a change of command there is a reshuffle based on professional performance.

However, he added, the new appointees, including army chief Bajwa, will follow former army chief General Raheel Sharif’s policies and the ongoing operations and activities will not be hampered.

According to him, the real test for General Bajwa would be his relations with the civilian government. Initial interactions with Nawaz Sharif show an emboldened Prime Minister who was trying to set new rules for the Army, Lieutenant General Masood stated.

However these are early days for the new chief and it is unclear how the relationship between him and the prime minister would evolve in weeks and months to come.

“Don’t forget that all newly appointed chief of army staff take some time to establish the parameters of their relations with the civilian government,” sources told Business Recorder on condition of strict anonymity.

-Business Recorder