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Change of Guard at Peshawar's 11th Corps
By Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Lieutenant General Imtiaz Shaheen would give up the command of the 11th Corps here on May 12 after serving for 14 months in a position that is high-profile and powerful. Two days later, Lt Gen Ehsanul Haq would take over as the new Corps Commander.

Lt Gen Shaheen has been made Chief of Logistics Staff in the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi. This is an upgraded post assigned the task of organizing the Pakistan Army on need-based and modern lines. It is interesting to know that Lt Gen Shaheen was member of a study group that finalized recommendations on equipping and modernizing the Pakistan Army and now he finds himself as head of the unit charged with testing and implementing those proposals.

As for Lt Gen Ehsan, this would be the first time for him to command a corps. He has previously served as a General Officer Commanding (GOC). Recently promoted to his present rank, Lt Gen Ehsan was until now the head of the Military Intelligence (MI), an influential position that gave him direct and frequent access to General Pervez Musharraf and enabled him to earn his trust. After Lt Gen Fazle Haq (January 1978 to March 1980) and Lt Gen Mumtaz Gul (May 1994 to October 1996), Lt Gen Ehsan would be the third Army officer from the NWFP to head the 11th Corps since the establishment of the corps headquarters in Peshawar in April 1975. The new Corps Commander hails from Mardan, which along with Kohat and Karak districts constitutes the so-called martial belt in the Frontier and provides the bulk of the soldiers to the Pakistan Army from the province.

Lt Gen Ehsan would be the 14th commander of the 11th Corps. The first Corps Commander was Lt Gen Majeed Malik whose tenure of 11 months was probably the shortest todate. He had resigned from service and it was much later that one heard of him after entering politics and becoming a federal minister in Nawaz Sharif's cabinet. Lt Gen Farrukh Khan too had served for 11 months from September 1990 to August 1991. Lt Gen C A Majid who served as Corps Commander from March 1980 to April 1984 had the longest tenure. Lt Gen Saeed-uz-Zafar (October 1996 to March 2000), Lt Gen Ayaz Ahmad (August 1991 to May 1994), Lt Gen Mumtaz Gul (May 1994 to October 1996), Lt Gen Ahmad Kamal (January 1987 to February 1989) and Lt Gen Fazle Haq served as the Corps Commander for more than two years. The remaining Corps Commanders at Peshawar were Lt Generals Sawar Khan, Mohammad Iqbal, Aslam Beg and Rahmdil Bhatti.

It is worth mentioning that Lt Gen Ehsan, like NWFP Governor Lt Gen (retd) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah, belongs to the Air Defense Command of the Pakistan Army. In fact, he has served as the second-in-command to Lt Gen (Retd) Iftikhar earlier in service. These two factors should make them an ideal combination while ruling the Frontier because they have frequently interacted and know each other's strengths and weaknesses. Others with an Air Defense background holding positions of importance in the province are Brigadier Aslam Ghumman, the number two man in National Accountability Bureau (or Regional Accountability Bureau as it is called in Peshawar), Provincial Monitoring Team head Brigadier Salim and NADRA regional chief Brigadier Mohammad Anwar Khan. ..


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