Who will be Pakistan's next Chief of Army Staff?

Who will it command Pakistan's military resources?

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has a tough decision to make in the coming weeks as the hunt for the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has begun.

With Raheel Sharif announcing that he will step down when his tenure ends in November, the top position is up for grabs. The Pakistan PM will decide the name that will lead the nation’s military resources for a period of three years.

Even as Sharif is at loggerheads with the current COAS Raheel Sharif, there appear to be no front-runners for the position that not only controls the country’s defence forces but also influences the relationship with the United States and Pakistan’s arch-rival India.

According to a report in India today Rawalpindi and Islamabad are betting their money on two different candidates. Gen Sharif is vouching for Lt Gen Zubair Hayat, who is the commander of Multan Corps and has served as the Chief of General Staff. On the other hand, Sharif is supporting Lt Gen Zubair Hayat, who at present is commanding the Bahawalpur Corps and has served as the president of the National Defence University.

The military high command has sent dossiers of four primary contenders to the Pakistan PM, Reuters reported.

The other two names that appear in the list are- Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed, who is commanding the Multan Corps and has served as the chief of general staff. The other name being that of Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. He is Inspector General Training and Evaluation and has previously served as the GSO Pak Army’s 10 Corps and as a brigade commander with a UN mission in Congo.

Raheel Sharif is not only popular among Pakistan officials but also among citizens. Under the circumstances, selecting a worthy successor to Sharif would be a herculean task for the Pakistan PM.