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The new COAS
Dr. Farrukh Saleem
Sunday, December 15, 2013

Capital suggestion

Over the past 62 years a total of 13 army chiefs have commanded the 6th largest army on the face of the planet (besides Generals Messervy and Gracey). As per data compiled by Zuha Saeed, of the 13 a total of nine were promoted ‘out-of-turn’.

FM Ayub Khan superseded three major generals; General Musa superseded three; General Yahya superseded two; Lt General Gul Hassan superseded one; General Zia superseded six; General Waheed superseded four; General Musharraf superseded two; General Kayani superseded one to become VCOS and now General Raheed Sharif has superseded one lieutenant general. In effect, within the army supersession is the norm rather than the exception.

General Raheel Sharif, the 15th COAS of the Pakistan Army, was being considered a ‘rank outsider in the race for army chief’. After all, he had never served in the all-important Military Operations Directorate as the DGMO. After all, he has never been the CGS.

To his credit, he commanded the red, white and green XXX Crops, an integral part of the Eastern Military Command. To his credit, he has been the commandant of the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul (PMA). To his credit, he re-wrote the infantry training manual to enhance the infantry’s counterterrorism capacity. To his credit belongs Pak Army’s ‘operational thought and doctrinal response to the much vaunted Cold Start of the Indian Army.’

By most accounts the new COAS is an introvert. What that means is: “slow train of thought and deeper processing; self-reflection; a need and craving for alone time and a lack of assertiveness”. An extrovert, like General Musharraf, “tends to act, then reflect, then act further”. An introvert, like General Sharif, “prefers to reflect, then act, then reflect again”.

There is evidence that “introverts are thought oriented while extroverts are action oriented. Introverts seek depth of knowledge while extroverts seek breadth of knowledge. Introverts prefer substantial interaction while extroverts prefer frequent interaction. Introverts get their energy from spending time alone while extroverts get their energy from spending time with people.”

The new COAS is not the type who would go out seeking conflict. But if conflict is brought to him he would first reflect, then act and once he has acted there’s absolutely no going back. The intensification of the Iran-Saudi Cold War – and their insistence on using Pakistan as a proxy battleground – could prove to be a potential source of a future civil-military conflict. The ruling PML-N is more susceptible to Saudi stratagems while the new COAS may want to take Pakistan in a different direction. Another potential source of strife could be the so-called ‘dialogue politics’ whereby the PML-N, looking at securing its right-of-centre vote bank, may come in conflict with the new COAS’s perception of internal threat. The third potential source of conflict could be the PML-N’s failure to arrest the free-falling economy or the resultant internal chaos.

Within the army, the new COAS’s roots run deep, very deep. He is a war hero’s brother. He has been the adjutant PMA and more than a hundred serving brigadiers look up to him as their role model (every cadet dreams of becoming the adjutant). He has been the commandant PMA, and a great fatherly commandant he was. The new COAS must have been the source of inspiration for some 3,000 to 4,000 young serving officers. His constituency within the army is as strong as can be.

Expectations are high. The new COAS would now have to prove three things. One: that he is Shabbir Sharif’s brother. Two: his impact on Pakistan’s threat matrix, internal as well as external. Three: new welfare measures for the troops that he commands.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.

Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com
Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-220309-The-new-COAS

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Replies to This Discussion

Given the circumstances I dont think that the new government would have ... as people at helm of affairs were beneficiaries of this continued chaos... on Pakistani political landscape and specially vis-a-vis Karachi,

pa ji .. your article is too long , because your article consist much difficult perspective , conceptualized and make an idea is tedious for me ,

Why this articl is written?


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