Saturday, September 22, 2007

Analysis : Who will replace Musharraf

Who will replace Musharraf ?

In the running are Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai, Gen. Salahuddin Satti, Gen. Kiyani and Gen. Tariq Majeed !

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf is likely to elevate in next few days two of his closest aides in the army as the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Vice Chief of Army Staff since the incumbent CJCSC General Ehsanul Haq and VCOAS General Ahsan Salim Hayat are due to retire on October 7, with neither given an extension.
According to military circles in Islamabad, Vice Army Chief General Ahsan Salim Hayat can automatically succeed Musharraf if the latter removes his uniform before the retirement of the former.

However, military circles rule out the possibility of Musharraf letting a senior General like Ahsan Salim assuming the powerful office of the army chief and thus creating problems for him.
Musharraf would appoint a true loyalist as the next VCOAS. Musharraf is to choose his successor from amongst the present top 12 lieutenant generals, all of whom hand-picked by him.
Lt. Gen Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Director-General of the Strategic Plan Division, tops the list. But the problem is that he is already on extension. But there are those in the military circles who believe that due to his deep involvement with the military’s strategic nuclear assets, he may have an outside chance to become CJCSC.

If a combination of seniority and competence remains the criteria, then the Director General of the all-powerful Inter Services Intelligence, Lt. Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, may pair with Kidwai to be the new VCOAS.

But if Lt. Gen Kidwai is out, insiders say, the two senior most three-star generals who qualify for the two coveted posts are Lt. Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiani pairing with the Commander 10 Corps, Lt. Gen Tariq Majeed, with the former being elevated to the largely ceremonial post of CJCSC and the latter being made the VCOAS.

Lt. General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani and Lt. General Tariq Majeed both are known as hardcore Musharraf loyalists. They are from Baluch Regiment and had earlier headed the Military Intelligence in different times one after the other.

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