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Navy chief to command Pakistani military

Internews Report

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) of Pakistan Admiral Noman Bashir will replace General Tariq Majid of Pakistan Army as the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) early next month and with this, rotation of the office among the three forces would be revived for the post that was a part of the original scheme.

The sources here have hinted that the new naval chief will be picked from Vice Admiral Asif Sandila, the chief of staff and Vice Admiral Abbas Raza, the deputy chief of naval staff (operations), since they are the senior-most officers. The two are working in the Naval Headquarters.

Former President General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf changed the scheme in 1998. Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has declined to agree with the proposal to assume the additional office of the CJCSC unlike his predecessor General Musharraf, who held the twin posts for three years.

Admiral Bashir will be the third chairman of the committee from the Pakistan Navy since the establishment of the command in 1976. The new chairman will be appointed by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who has undertaken necessary consultations for the purpose. The formal announcement regarding the new appointments is likely to be made next week.

Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deals with all problems bearing on the military aspects of state security and is charged with integrating and coordinating the three services. The sources pointed out that in peacetime, its principal function is planning; in the time of war, its chairman is the principal staff officer to the president in the supervision and conduct of the war.

The secretariat of the committee serves as the principal link between the service headquarters and the Ministry of Defence in addition to coordinating matters between the services. The three branches within the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deal with planning, training, and logistics.

Affiliated with the committee are the offices of the engineer-in-chief, the director general of medical service, the director of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the director of Inter-Services Public Relations. The CJCSC is also responsible for the strategic assets of the country.

Admiral Muhammad Sharif (1978 to April 1980) and Admiral Iftikhar Sirohi (November 1988 to August 1991) were from Pakistan Navy who occupied the slot as part of rotation.

The Pakistan Air Force held the office for once only when Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze became the chairman in November 1994 to November 1997. Pakistan Army with its four-star generals served as chairman of the committee nine times. Admiral Bashir, who was commissioned in operations branch of Pakistan Navy in June 1973, will serve in his new office for three years.

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