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Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

The Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, not to be confused with Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Turkish army chief of staff, replaced Musharraf as military chief on 29 November 2007. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is a moderate, pro-American infantry commander who is widely seen as commanding respect within the army and within Western circles.

Pakistan’s top military commander, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, retired on 29 November 2013 after six years as chief of the country’s most powerful institution. The army, and its relationship with Pakistan’s civilian government, changed greatly during his tenure. General Kayani, seen as the second most powerful man in Pakistan, had headed the military since November 2007. The army chief was largely credited with halting the pattern of military intervention in politics and allowing democracy to develop. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was commissioned from Paksitan Military Academy, Kakul in Baloch Regiment in 1971. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is graduate of Fort Benning (USA), Command and Staff College Quetta, Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth (USA), Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Hawaii (USA), and National Defence College Islamabad.

The General possesses wide ranging experience in Command, Instructional and staff appointments. He has commanded an infantry Battalion, Infantry Brigade, Infantry Division and a Corps. He has been on the faculty of School of Infantry and Tactics Quetta., Officer Training School Mangla, Command and Staff College Quetta and National Defence University Islamabad.

Besides being Chief of Staff Corps, the General has also held the coveted appointment of Director General Military Operations. He has served as Director General Inter Services Intelligence. He has been awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) for his meritorious services.

Kayani rose to eventually serve Benazir Bhutto as her deputy military secretary during her first stint as prime minister in 1988-1990. He also served as the General Officer Commander (GOC) 12th Infantry Division stationed in Murree, deployed all over the Line of Control and which comes under the X Corps (Rawalpindi).

Kayani's career progressed and he went on to serve as Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) from December 2000 to September 2003. It was during his tenure as DGMO that the intense military standoff of 2001-2002 between Pakistan and India took place. Reportedly, Kayani only slept a few hours a night during that period as he diligently oversaw the army's mobilization and preparedness on the border.

Kayani was promoted to Lieutenant General in September 2003, entrusted with the command of X Corps in Rawalpindi, replacing Lt Gen Syed Arif Hassan. The promotion indicated Musharraf's trust in Kayani, since an army chief cannot build an army coup without the help of the X Corps commander. Rawalpindi is the twin city of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. During Kayani's tenure at the X Corps, he led the successful investigation of the two back-to-back suicide attacks against Musharraf in December 2003. It is said that Kayani won the trust of Musharraf after the investigation, and a prelude to Kayani's promotion to the sensitive position of ISI chief. He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the civilian medal, for his achievement. Kayani led the corps until October 2004, when he was replaced by Lt Gen Salahuddin Satti, and transferred to the ISI as its chief.

In October 2004, Ashfaq Kayani was made the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence, replacing General Ehsan ul Haq, who proceeded to the chairmanship of Joint Chiefs of Staff as a four-star general. His role as chief of ISI is largely unknown. Kayani led the ISI through insurgencies in Waziristan and Balochistan, AQ Khan's nuclear proliferation scandal, and waves of suicide attacks throughout Pakistan emanating from the northwestern tribal belt.

By 2007 Musharraf's deputy chief of army staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was the arbiter between Musharraf and the political parties. This is a role the army is accustomed to playing. In his final days at the ISI, he also led the talks with Benazir Bhutto for a possible power sharing deal with Musharraf. In October 2007, after three years, he was replaced at the ISI by Lt Gen Nadeem Taj. In October 2007, Kayani was promoted as a full general, and made the Vice Chief of Army Staff. He took over as the new army chief of Pakistan Army after Musharraf's retirement on November 28, 2007. By late 2007 it was widely believed that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was unhappy about the emergency. He was being touted as the man to topple Musharraf and hand the government back to civilian politicians.

In January 2008 General Kayani passed a directive which ordered military officers not to maintain contacts with politicians. On 13 February 2008 it was made public that General Kayani ordered the withdrawal of military officers from all of Pakistan's government civil departments. Army officers would be withdrawn from 23 wide-ranging civil departments, including the National Highway Authority, National Accountability Bureau, Ministry of Education, and Water and Power Development Authority.

In May 2008 General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was named in a list of 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. In a write-up, Aryn Baker, associate editor at the Asian edition of Time Magazine, said Gen. Kayani, 56, who was included in the 'Leaders and Revolutionaries' category, does not have political ambitions. The Time added, "On taking office, Kayani ordered the withdrawal of all military officers from lucrative posts in the civilian bureaucracy. As Pakistan went to the polls in February, Kayani kept the army out of sight. The message was clear: his army would stick to the barracks and the battlefields, not the ballot boxes. Soldiers, friends, diplomats and politicians all extol his reasoned thinking and tempered judgment."

The Pakistan Chief of Army Staff was the 231st officer to be inducted into the Command and General Staff College's International Hall of Fame 26 February 2009 at the Lewis and Clark Center at Fort Leavenworth. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is among the 3 percent of international students who have graduated from CGSC to be inducted into the hall of fame.

Many Pakistani commentators have suggested that the Army would overthrow the civilian government if the conflict between Zardari and Sharif persisted. But Mr. Sharif said he doubted that the military under Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who served as his deputy military secretary during his first term as prime minister, would do so. "I think he is a decent man and a professional soldier," he said in March 2009.

The annual Time 100 list was published 01 May 2009. Writing in the 2009 edition of the Time list, Admiral Mullen, the chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said of Gen. Kayani, "Here is a man with a plan, a leader who knows where he wants to go. He seemed to understand the nature of the extremist threat inside Pakistan, recognized that his army wasn't ready to meet that threat and had already started working up solutions. So far he's done everything he told me he would do. He said he would provide the Frontier Corps with material support and strong leaders. He did it. He said he would send more Pakistani army troops to the northwest border region. He sent nearly 2,000. He said he would use those troops to go after alQaeda and extremist groups in Bajur and the Swat Valley. They have mounted several operations in just the past few months. There's much more to do, of course. But I also think it's important to look at what Kayani hasn't done. For starters, he hasn't let the army meddle in politics. Kayani helped foster a peaceful outcome to last year's constitutional crisis, but he did it in a way that was totally in keeping with his military responsibilities."

On May 07, 2009 Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that the present security situation required that all elements of national power should work in close harmony to fight the menace of terrorism and extremism. He expressed these views at the start of the 118th Corps Commanders' Conference commenced at the General Headquarters. Chairing the conference, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Kayani said that Pakistan is a sovereign state and the people of Pakistan under a democratic dispensation, supported by the Army, are capable of handling the present crisis in their own national interest.

Pakistan’s military chief issued a veiled warning following reports that army officers were upset at how authorities have treated former military dictator Pervez Musharraf since his return from self-imposed exile. General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani told an audience in Rawalpindi, where the army is headquartered, that retribution and threats alone will not “end the game of hide and seek" between democracy and dictatorship.

?Musharraf returned in March 2013 after four years of self-imposed exile to take part in the national elections scheduled for later this month. But election authorities disqualified Musharraf because of pending court cases against him. He is currently under house arrest for offenses including treason that the former military leader allegedly committed while in power. A Pakistani court imposed a lifetime ban on Musharraf from contesting elections, dealing another blow to his attempts to make a political comeback.

The legal challenges and political criticism that greeted Musharraf’s homecoming reportedly prompted army officers to complain about the way armed forces are being treated by politicians and the domestic media. Pakistan’s military has ruled the country for almost half of its existence as an independent nation. It remains the country’s most powerful institution, and is widely believed to set the country’s foreign and security policy. But during five years of civilian rule, the army has come under criticism for political interventions that some say have stunted Pakistan’s democratic development.

In a nationally televised speech the night of 30 April 2013 to pay tribute to fallen Pakistani soldiers, Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani did not approve of the criticism of his institution. General Kayani said that “it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship”.

Kayani belongs to Gujar Khan, a suburb of Rawalpindi, known to produce Pakistan Army generals. He grew up in a working-class family, son of a junior officer, Lehrasab Khan. Imbued with the qualities of head and heart, General is perceived to be a purposeful and pragmatic Commander and embodiment of professionalism. He is described as a soft-spoken intellectual who is apolitical, and disciplined. Excellence and perfection are said to remain the hallmark of his personality. An avid golfer and a keen sportsman, General is also the President of Pakistan Golf Association. A chain smoker, he is married and has a son and daughter.




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