Chief of Army Staff (Pakistan)

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

Chief of Army Staff
سربراہ پاک فوج
Emblem of the army
General Qamar Javed Bajwa

since 29 November 2016
Ministry of Defence
Army Secretariat-I at MoD[1]
Member ofJoint Chiefs of Staff Committee
Reports toPrime Minister
Minister of Defence
SeatGeneral Headquarters (GHQ)
Rawalpindi Cantonment, Punjab
NominatorPrime Minister
Term length3 years
Renewable once
PrecursorCommander-in-Chief of the Army
FormationMarch 3, 1972 (1972-03-03)
First holderGeneral Tikka Khan
Unofficial namesArmy Chief
DeputyChief of General Staff
Vice-Chief of Army Staff
SalaryAccording to Pakistan Military officer's Pay Grade(apex Scale)
WebsiteOfficial website

The Chief of Army Staff is the 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]

Office of the Chief of the Army Staff

The designation of the Chief of the Army Staff was created from the previous title Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army in 1972. Since 1972, there has been 10 four-star rank army generals to be appointed as chief of army staff by statute.[10] 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.[11]

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 Turn Over

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[12][13] 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. [14]

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.[15][16]

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[17] and General Zia-ul-Haq:239[17] (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[18][19] and General Pervez Musharraf (1999).:154[20]:254[21]

List of Chiefs of Army Staff

No. Chief of Army StaffTook officeLeft officeTime in officeUnit of Commission
Khan, TikkaGeneral
Tikka Khan HJ, HQA, SPk
3 March 19721 March 19763 years, 364 days2 Fd Regt Arty
Zia-ul-Haq, MuhammadGeneral
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
1 March 197617 August 198812 years, 169 days13 Lancers
Beg, MirzaGeneral
Mirza Aslam Beg NI(M), SBt
(born 1931)
17 August 198816 August 19912 years, 364 days16 Baloch
Nawaz, AsifGeneral
Asif Nawaz NI(M), SBt
16 August 19918 January 1993 1 year, 145 days5 Punjab
Kakar, AbdulGeneral
Abdul Waheed Kakar NI(M), SBt
(born 1937)
11 January 199312 January 19963 years, 1 day5 FF
Karamat, JehangirGeneral
Jehangir Karamat NI(M), TBt
(born 1941)
12 January 19966 October 19982 years, 267 days13 Lancers
Musharraf, PervezGeneral
Pervez Musharraf NI(M), TBt
(born 1943)
6 October 199828 November 20079 years, 53 days16 (SP) Medium Regt Arty
Kayani, Ashfaq ParvezGeneral
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani NI(M), HI(C)
(born 1952)
29 November 200729 November 20136 years, 0 days5 Baloch
Sharif, RaheelGeneral
Raheel Sharif NI(M), HI(M)
(born 1956)
29 November 201329 November 20163 years, 0 days6 FF
Bajwa, QamarGeneral
Qamar Javed Bajwa NI(M), HI(M)
(born 1960)
29 November 2016Incumbent3 years, 17 days16 Baloch

Vice Chief of Army Staff

The Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS), is the post that is principal 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[22] 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.[23]

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[22]

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[22] The post of the vice army chief is a very senior position and the appointment holder is a four-star 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 appointment 'C-in-C of the Army'. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is the last vice chief of army staff till date.

Order Name Rank Photo Appointment Date Left Office Unit of Commission Decorations
±Abdul Hamid KhanGeneral25 March 196920 December 197110th BalochHQA, SPk
1Sawar KhanGeneral13 April 198023 March 19841st (SP) Med Regt Arty (FF)NI(M)
2Khalid Mahmud ArifGeneral22 March 198429 March 198711th Cavalry (FF)NI(M), S Bt
3Mirza Aslam BegGeneral29 March 198717 August 198816th BalochNI(M), S Bt
4Yusaf KhanGeneral8 October 20016 October 2004Guides CavalryNI(M)
5Ahsan Saleem HayatGeneral7 October 20047 October 200733rd CavalryNI(M)
6Ashfaq Parvez KayaniGeneral8 October 200728 November 20075th BalochNI(M), HI

See also


  1. 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. Shabbir, Usman (2003). "Command and Structure control of the Pakistan Army". PakDef Military Consortium. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  4. 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 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  8. "Gen Bajwa assumes command as Pakistan's 16th army chief". The Express Tribune. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  9. "Pakistan: Army and Paramilitary Forces". Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  10. "The Army Chief's". Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Tudor, Maya (2013). The Promise of Power: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107032965.
  14. Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali. "If I was assassinated" (PDF).
  15. Burki, Shahid Javed (19 March 2015). Historical Dictionary of Pakistan. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442241480.
  16. Crossette, Barbara (13 October 1999). "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 21 November 2017.
  17. Chitkara, M. G. (2003). Combating Terrorism. APH Publishing. ISBN 9788176484152. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  18. Hashwani, Sadruddin (2014). The Truth Always Prevails: A Memoir. Penguin UK. ISBN 9789351188322.
  19. InpaperMagazine, From (8 October 2011). "Flashback: The Martial Law of 1958". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  20. Gupta, J. B. Das (2002). Islamic Fundamentalism And India. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata. ISBN 9788178710136.
  21. Haqqani, Husain (2010). Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment. ISBN 9780870032851. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  22. 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.
  23. "General's first gambit". The Indian Express. 16 December 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
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