Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed Lt Gen Nadeem Raza as the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), a statement issued by the premier’s office announced on Thursday. His appointment will take effect from November 27.
The statement recalled that the notification for the reappointment of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as the chief of army staff for another tenure was already issued on August 19.
Following his appointment as the CJCSC, Lt Gen Raza called on Prime Minister Imran at his office on Thursday and discussed various professional affairs.
The incumbent CJCSC, Gen Zubair Hayat, had begun making the ritual farewell calls earlier this month as he is set to retire on Nov 27. Besides Lt Gen Raza, who has been serving as the Chief of General Staff (CGS), the other top contenders for the office of CJCSC were Strategic Plans Division (SPD) Director General Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar and Commander V Corps, headquartered at Karachi, Lt Gen Humayun Aziz, Dawn has reported last week.
Who is Lt Gen Nadeem Raza?
Lt Gen Raza, Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military), who had in August last year become the Chief of General Staff, the most prestigious appointment in the military after the army chief, was being seen by defence observers as the front runner for this post, given his profile.
As CGS, Gen Raza worked closely with Gen Bajwa and one of the considerations for the government while making this appointment would have been the working relationship between the two four-star generals over the next three years.
Lt Gen Raza was commissioned in the infantry’s 10 Sindh Regiment in September 1985. He is a graduate of Command and Staff College Quetta and NDU Islamabad. He also attended Inf Coy Command Course in Germany in 1994.
The officer carries with him a varied experience of command, staff and instructional appointments. He has served as the brigade major of an infantry brigade, general staff officer (Grade 1) at the Military Operations Directorate, and chief of staff of a Strike Corps.
On the instructional side, he has been on the faculty of the School of Infantry and Tactics, Command and Staff College Quetta and War College Islamabad and served as the commandant of the Pakistan Military Academy. Lt Gen Raza has commanded an infantry battalion and infantry brigade along the Line of Control, an infantry division in South Waziristan and the 10 Corps (Rawalpindi).
He assumed the position of CGS on September 10, 2018. He is married and has four children.
The CJCSC office
The CJCSC, in principle, is the highest-ranking military officer across the armed forces. He serves as the government’s top adviser on matters related to national defence and security. His job description also includes working for promotion of ‘jointness’, or cross-service cooperation, in all military processes. But in practice, the position has been reduced to a ceremonial one in the scheme of things.
During the entire three-year tenure of Gen Zubair, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, created in 1976 to address the shortcomings of ‘joint effort’ in the East Pakistan war, met only once, on July 3, 2018, although the forum has to meet quarterly.
By virtue of being a tri-services office, the position of CJCSC has to be rotated among all three services, but it has come to be dominated by the army, especially after the establishment of the National Command Authority (NCA), because it controls the key areas of nuclear command and strategic assets. The CJCSC is also the deputy chairman of the NCA’s development committee.
Of the 16 chairmen who have served the office so far, 13 were from the army, two from navy and one from the air force. Within the army, the position has mostly been bagged by men from the infantry.
Outgoing Chairman Gen Zubair was, however, from the artillery. He had the honour of being the first gunner to become a four-star general since Gen Pervez Musharraf retired in 2007.