Pakistan Army General Kayani chairs meeting of top commanders
Islamabad: Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Wednesday chaired a meeting of Formation Commanders, possibly the last time he will preside over such a gathering before he retires later this month.
Kayani, who steps down on November 29, briefed the commanders on the "external and internal security environment" and professional matters as he prepares to bid farewell after leading the army for six years.
The conference, held twice a year, is attended by Principal Staff Officers, corps commanders and formation commanders.
Kayani`s successor has not yet been chosen and the government recently announced that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would name the new army chief and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee a day before Kayani retires.
Chief of Logistic Staff Lt Gen Haroon Aslam and Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Rashad Mehmood are frontrunners for the two slots.
A change of command ceremony has been planned for November 29. The appointment of army chiefs has never been easy for Pakistan`s civilian governments. Sharif has already said he will go by seniority.
If the army has its way, the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will most likely be Aslam, currently the most senior general in the army, while naval chief Admiral Asif Sandila could be the candidate if the position goes to the navy.
If Aslam gets the post, Lt Gen Mehmood will be made the new army chief if the government goes by seniority. Kayani was appointed army chief by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in late 2007. He was given an unprecedented three-year extension by then premier Yousuf Raza Gilani in 2010.
The need to appoint a new army chief comes at a time when Pakistan is facing major national security issues and ahead of the withdrawal of NATO troops from war-ravaged Afghanistan.
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