Lt. Gen Usmani Deputy COAS
From Rana Qaisar - The Nation
ISLAMABAD-In an expected development at top Army level, Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf on Tuesday appointed Lt. Gen. Muzaffar H. Usmani as Deputy Chief of Army Staff (DCOAS).
"Lt. Gen. Muzaffar Hussain Usmani, Commander 5 Corps (Karachi), has been designated as the DCOAS. He will assume his new appointment on May 17," the ISPR said.
Before his new appointment, Lt. Gen. Usmani was the senior-most Corps Commander. His appointment as Acting Chief of Army Staff during General Pervez Musharraf's visit to Saudi Arabia was as a precursor to an important position in future.
Lt. Gen. Tariq Waseem Ghazi, presently Commandant of Command and Staff College, Quetta, will replace Lt. Gen. Usmani. Ghazi was promoted to the rank of three-star General in March last.
Lt. Gen. Muzaffar Usmani is from Frontier Force Regiment, while Lt. Gen. Tariq Waseem Ghazi is from Baloch Regiment.
The post of the DCOAS is not a tenure appointment. After the retirement of Lt. Gen. Usmani early next year, either a senior most Lt. Gen. (at that time) will succeed him as the DCOAS or he will be appointed as Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS).
Dropping the hint to assume the office of President, the Chief Executive had recently announced at a Press conference in Karachi that he would not retire as Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He was due to retire in October.
The appointment of Lt. Gen. Usmani as his deputy has set in motion the process of political changes in the country in near future.
There are some hints that the military government is also considering to dissolve the assemblies and hold fresh elections as the option of assemblies restoration does not seem workable with the present political groupings there.
General Pervez Musharraf has also appointed Maj. Gen. Malik Arif Hayat as Commandant of Command and Staff College, Quetta, and Maj. Gen. Syed Ali Hamid as Director General Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi.
Recently, the Chief Executive had replaced the Corps Commanders of Mangla and Peshawar. One of the two Lieutenant Generals in the ISI is also expected to be given a new assignment.
The post of the DCOAS has been reactivated after almost two decades. In late 70s, the then COAS General Ziaul Haq, one year before assuming political role as President of Pakistan in 1979, had appointed Lt. Gen. Mohammad Iqbal Khan as the DCOAS.
Lt. Gen. Iqbal had remained the DCOAS from 1978 to 1980 and then he was made Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC). Lt. Gen. Imtiazullah Warriach was appointed as the DCOAS in early 90s, a few moths before his retirement.
Lt. Gen. Sawar Khan was appointed as VCOAS in 1980 with the rank of four-star General. He was succeeded by General K.M. Arif and General Mirza Aslam Beg respectively. Beg had become the COAS after the death of General Zia.
Lt. Gen. Usmani was commissioned in 1966 in an Armoured Infantry Battalion. After years of Regimental duties, he was posted to School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta, as Instructor.
In 1974, he was posted to Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, as Platoon and Company Commander. After promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, he commanded two Armoured Infantry Battalions, including a battalion in Saudi Arabia.
As Brigadier, he commanded an Infantry as well as a Mechanized Brigade. On promotion to the rank of Major General, he commanded an Infantry Division.
As Lieutenant General, he commanded two corps, one in Bahawalpur and the other in Karachi, from where he has been designated as the DCOAS.
In addition to his command experience, he has also served on various staff appointments. He has served as Director General Military Training, Inspector General Training and Evaluation and Vice Chief of General Staff at GHQ, in addition to his appointments as Directing Staff at Command and Staff College and National Defence College.
Lt. Gen. Usmani, in addition to graduation from Command and Staff College, Quetta, has also attended Royal College of Defence Studies, UK, and Senior Officers Defence Management Course, USA.
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