List of Army Chief of Pakistan Since 1947

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has extended the term of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan’s Chief Of Army Staff, for three years. The Army Chief, who served three years as the top general, was due to retire in November 2020.

General Bajwa is16th Army general to serve as the Army’s Chief of Staff. The position was previously known as Pakistan Army Commander-in-Chief until 1972.

The sixth-largest Army in the world is the Pakistan Army, thanks to its active military personnel. According to Global Fire Power, they are the 17th most powerful military in the world.

They have had many notable successes in fighting insurgency in Pakistan and terrorism in recent years. They also have the largest Army in Islam.

The post of Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan’s ultimate commander, is a highly coveted and powerful position in the country. As evidenced by Pakistan’s history with martial law, the COAS holds a lot of power and authority. In times of crisis, the COAS is a highly sought-after figure in Pakistan.

Over the 72 years of Pakistan’s independence, several army commanders from different backgrounds, personalities, identities, and political perspectives have commanded Pakistan’s armed force. These army generals have actively shaped and transformed the political and military dynamics in Pakistan.

List of Army Chief of Pakistan Since 1947

What is the Office Chief of Army Staff?

The post of Chief Of the Army Staff was established in 1972. It replaced the previous title of Commander-in­-Chief Pakistan Army Army. Since 1972, the Chief of Army Staff has been held by ten four-star generals from the army. The nomination and candidacy of the Chief Of Army Staff were approved by the Prime Minister.

The role of the chief of army staff was crucial in initiating and executing coups that were directed against the civilian government, Prime Minister, and other officials.

After the 1977 general election, when right-wing protesters erupted in large numbers, General Zia-ul-Haq became the first army leader who organized a coup against Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

After the performance of the Pakistan Army in the Kargil section, Prime Minister Sharif ended General Musharraf’s commission as army chief/chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Musharraf, however, defied orders and led a military coup to take control of the government on Oct 12, 1999.

The previous Army’s chief-in-chief justified their actions by saying they were trying to control the country’s worsening law-and-order situation. This was evident in the cases of Yahya Kan (1969) or General Zia-ul-Haq (77). Or, by trying to restore economic prosperity in light of financial crises.

The Army GHQ houses the leadership of the Army. It is overseen by the Chief of Army Staff (MoD) and assisted by civilians from the Ministry of Defence’s Army Secretariat. The Army’s Chief of Army Staff oversees all operations, training, and logistic command.

Many primary staff officers (PSOs) assist the Army GHQ with its operations.

  • Engineer-in-Chief (Eng-in-C)
  • Chief of General Staff
  • Chief of Logistics Staff
  • Inspector-General of Training and Evaluation
  • Inspector-General Communications and IT
  • Inspector-General Arms
  • Military Secretary (Mil Secy)
  • Adjutant-General
  • Quartermaster General (QMG)
  • Master-General of Ordnance
  • Judge Advocate General Corps
  • Director-General EME (DGEME)
  • Director-General Frontier Works Organisation (DGFWO)
  • DG Combat Development Directorate


List of Army Chiefs of Pakistan

The highest-ranking officer in Pakistan is the Chief of Army Staff (COAS)

The Chief of Army Staff, the highest-ranking officer in Pakistan’s military, is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. He usually consults with the Chairman Joint Chiefs in a separate capacity and acts as a military advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the civilian government of Pakistan in order to defend its land borders.

The Chief of Army Staff, unlike the Chief of Staff in the United States Army, is responsible for the command and control over the Army’s operational and combatant, logistical, and training commands.

Due to the collapse of civil-military relations in recent decades, the Chief of Army Staff played a crucial role in the imposition of martial law against civilian administration.

Constitutionally, the appointment is limited to three years. However, the President can grant an extension upon consenting to the Prime Minister’s recommendations.

The Army Headquarters is the headquarters of the Chief of Army Staff. General Qamar Javed Bajwa is the current Chief Of Army Staff. He has held this position since November 29, 2016.

For our readers’ convenience, we’ve produced a list of all Army Chiefs from 1947 until the present. Check out the list of all the Pakistan Army Generals.

1.Frank Messervy

He was the first Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Army and was a British Indian Army officer who served in World War I and World War II.

Full Name: Sir Frank Walter Messervy

Rank: General

Year of Service as C in-C:1947 – February 10, 1948

2.Douglas Gracey

As a British Indian Army officer, he served in the First and Second World Wars. He was also a participant in the French Indochina War and served as Second Commander in Chief for the Pakistani Army.

Full Name: Sir Douglas David Gracey

Rank: General

Year of Service as C in-C: From February 11, 1948, to January 16, 1951

3.Ayub Khan

He was the second President of Pakistan and the first Pakistani Army General to be a Commander-in-Chief of Army when he took over the presidency from Iskander Murza, the first President in Pakistan. Ayub Khan served as Pakistan’s President for ten consecutive years.

Full Name:Muhammad Ayub Khan

Rank: Field Marshal

Year of Service as C in-C: From January 17, 1951, to October 27, 1958

4.Musa Khan

He was a Pakistani four-star general and Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Army under President Muhammad Ayub Khan. His total eight-year term made him the longest-serving army leader of all time. He eventually became a politician.

Full Name: Muhammad Musa Khan

Rank: General

Years of service as C-in–C: From October 27, 1958, to September 17, 1966

5.General Yahya Khan

In 1966, General Yahya Khan was elected Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Army Army. In 1969, Yahya Khan became Pakistan’s third president after Muhammad Ayub Khan.

Full Name: Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan Nepi

Rank: General

Years of service as C-in–C:1966-1971

6.Gul Hassan Khan

Gul Hassan Khan, the Pakistan Army’s last Commander-in-Chief (C-inC), was renamed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) by President Zulfiqar Al Ali Bhutto.

Full Name: Gul Hassan Khan

Rank: General

Years of service as a COAS: From December 20, 1971, to March 3, 1972

7.General Tikka Khan

General Tikka Khan, like General Musa Khan and General Musa Khan, was also the first Chief Of Army Staff for the Pakistan Army. He was also a Four Star Army general. He is known as Pakistan’s Lion.

Full Name: Tikka Khan

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: March 3, 1972 – March 1, 1976

8.Zia Ul Haq

Zia Ul Haq was second Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan. He was also a Four-Star General with the Pakistan Army. He deposed Zulfiqar Aziz Ali Bhutto in 1977 and declared martial law.

This made him Pakistan’s President. He was elected President in 1978 by the United States and served until his death in an airplane crash in 1988. He is Pakistan’s longest-serving head of state.

Full Name: Muhammad Zia Ul Haq

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: From March 1, 1976, to August 17, 1988

9.Mirza Aslam Beg

Mirza Aslam Beg, a former Pakistan Army Four-Star General, served three years as Chief of Army Staff.

Full Name: Mirza Aslam Beg

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: From August 17, 1988, to August 16, 1991

10. Asif Nawaz Janjua

Asif Nawaz Janjua, a four-star general who served for two years as Pakistan’s fourth Chief Of Army Staff.

Full Name: Asif Nawaz Janjua

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: From August 16, 1991, to January 8, 1993

11. Abdul Waheed Kakar

Abdul Waheed Kakar, a former general in the army who served as Pakistan’s Chief Of Army Staff.

Full Name: Abdul Waheed Kakkar

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: From January 12, 1993, to January 12, 1996

12. Jehangir Karamat

For two and a quarter years, he was Pakistan’s Chief Of Army Staff.

Full Name:Jahangir Karamat

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: From January 12, 1996, to October 6, 1998

13. Pervez Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf, a four-star Army general, and politician were Pakistan’s 10th President after the 1999 imposition of martial laws. He was the President of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008.

Full Name: Syed Pervez Musharraf

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: From October 6, 1998, to November 28, 2007,

14. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani

Ashfaq Pervez Kishani was appointed Chief of Army Staff in 2007 after President Pervez Musharraf left the military. He also served as the Director-General for Inter-Services Intelligence. Ashfaq Pervez Kirani (Four-Star Army General) is a former Four-Star Army general (ISI). In 2010, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani made Ashfaq Pervez Kahni a COAS because of the fight against terror.

Full Name: Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: November 29, 2007, to November 29, 2013

15. Raheel Sharif

Raheel Sharif was named the 15th Chief Army Staff of Pakistan Army by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2013. After stepping down from his post as COAS, Raheel Sharif was appointed Commander in Chief for the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition.

Full Name: Raheel Sharif

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: November 29, 2013, to November 29, 2016

16. Qamar Bajwa

Qamar Bajwa was nominated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to be the Chief of Army Staff for Pakistan Armed Forces. He is a four-star general in the army. In 2018, General Bajwa was ranked the world’s 68 most important person. His term as COAS was extended by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for six more months. The Pakistani National Assembly approved a measure in January 2020 that extended his term by three years.

Full Name: Qamar Javed Bajwa

Rank: Four Star General

Years of service as a COAS: November 29, 2016, and Incumbent


The Pakistan Army, a branch of Pakistani armed forces, plays an important role in combat situations against our enemies. The Chief of Army Staff is Pakistan’s top leader and commander for the armed forces. He is highly regarded by Pakistanis as a prominent and prestigious post. The Chief of Army Staff is Pakistan’s most sought-after person due to his immense authority. When Pakistan is in crisis, people look up to the COAS.

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