Chief of General Staff (Pakistan)

Chief of General Staff, shortly abbreviated as CGS, is the most coveted position within the Pakistan Army. Although four-star Chief of Army Staff (COAS) is the nominal head of the land forces, CGS is the operational and intelligence lead of the institution. It is headed by a three-star lieutenant general.

Traditionally, the selection for COAS or Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) has a preference for Chief of General Staff posting. The last 13 four-star army generals had eight officers who did a tenure as CGS. Out of five who didn't, Pervez Musharraf and Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stayed as Director General of Military Operation (DGMO) and Ehsan ul Haq stayed as Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI), all two-star postings under the CGS.

The current CGS is Lieutenant General Zubair Mahmood Hayat appointed on 9th April 2015.


The CGS heads the General Staff Branch of Army General Headquarters. He is also assisted by a Vice Chief of General Staff (VCGS) and Deputy Chief of General Staff), both two-star major generals. The critical directorates of Military Operations and Military Intelligence (headed by DGMO and DGMI respectively) also come under his purview.


Historically, the CGS post, in addition to Commander X Corps, Rawalpindi, had political significance when the army chief wanted to overthrow political leadership. The 1999 Pakistani coup d'état, which brought General Pervez Musharraf to power had active involvement of Lt Gen Muhammad Aziz Khan, then CGS and Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed, commander X Corps Rawalpindi.

Therefore, the army chief essentially positions most trusted aides for these two postings before making a routine reshuffle. General Ziauddin Butt, who was nominated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after retiring Pervez Musharraf, passed his first orders to appoint Lt Gen Muhammad Akram as CGS and Lt Gen Salim Haider as Commander Rawalpindi Corps. But before this order could be conveyed to the rest of the army, Aziz and Mahmud took steps to reverse the order by overthrowing the government and thus essentially starting the 1999 coup.

List of Chiefs of General Staff

  1. Maj Gen Akbar Khan, 1950 – 1951
  2. Maj Gen Yusuf Khan, 1951 – 1953
  3. Maj Gen Mian Hayaud Din, 1953 – 1955
  4. Maj Gen Sher Ali Khan Pataudi, 1955 – 1957
  5. Maj Gen Yahya Khan, 1957 – 1962
  6. Maj Gen Malik Sher Bahadur, 1962 – 1966
  7. Maj Gen Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, 1966 – 1969
  8. Maj Gen (later Lt Gen) Gul Hassan Khan, 1969 – 1971
  9. Maj Gen M. Rahim Khan, 1972 – July 1974
  10. Maj Gen Muhammad Iqbal Khan, July 1974 – March 1976
  11. Maj Gen Abdullah Malik, March 1976 – 1978
  12. Maj Gen Sirdar Farooq Shaukat Khan Lodi, 1978 – March 1980
  13. Maj Gen (later Lt Gen) Mirza Aslam Beg, June 1980 – October 1985
  14. Maj Gen (later Lt Gen) Muhammad Safdar, October 1985 – January 1988
  15. Lt Gen Mian Muhammad Afzaal, January 1988 – August 1988
  16. Lt Gen Shamim Alam Khan, May 1989 – April 1991
  17. Lt Gen Asif Nawaz, April 1991 – August 1991
  18. Lt Gen Farrakh Khan, August 1991 – July 1994
  19. Lt Gen Jehangir Karamat, July 1994 – January 1996
  20. Lt Gen Iftikhar Ali Khan, January 1996 – May 1997
  21. Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan Khattak, May 1997 – October 1998
  22. Lt Gen Muhammad Aziz Khan, October 1998 – August 2000
  23. Lt Gen Muhammad Yusaf Khan, August 2000 – October 2001
  24. Lt Gen Shahid Aziz, October 2001 – December 2003
  25. Lt Gen Tariq Majid, December 2003 – October 2006
  26. Lt Gen Salahuddin Satti, October 2006 – October 2008
  27. Lt Gen Muhammad Mustafa Khan, October 2008 – April 2010
  28. Lt Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne, April 2010 – October 2010
  29. Lt Gen Waheed Arshad, October 2010 – January 2013
  30. Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood, January 2013 – November 2013
  31. Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, November 2013 – April 2015
  32. Lt Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, April 2015 – November 2016


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