These Are All the Army Chiefs Who Have Served Pakistan Since Independence

An Army Chief in Pakistan epitomizes power.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan has provided a three-year extension to the Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The Army Chief was set to vacate the post in November this year after completing his 3 years as the top General.

General Bajwa is the 16th Army General to serve as the Chief of Army Staff. Until 1972, the post was called as Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army.

We have compiled a list of all Army Chiefs from 1947 til now for our readers. Let’s have a look at all the Generals who held the reigns of Pakistan Army.

1. Frank Messervy

Frank Messervy was a British General who took charge of Pakistan Army after independence and served as the first Commander-in-Chief till February 10, 1948.

Via Flickr by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi

2. Douglas Gracey

Following Sir Frank’s tenure, another British General, Douglas Gracey took the reins of Pakistan Army as Commander-in-Chief. He took oath on February 11, 1948, and ended his term on January 16, 1951. He was succeeded by first native Pakistani General, Ayub Khan.

Via Flickr by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi

3. Ayub Khan

He was the first Pakistani to serve as the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army and later became the first Army General to serve as the President of Pakistan. He was only 43 years old when he was elevated to spearhead Pakistan Army. When President, he promoted himself to the Field Marshal rank and occupied the post of Army Chief for a period of 7 years. His tenure came to an end on October 27, 1958.

Via Pakistani Stories

4. Musa Khan

The longest-serving Army General to hold the post of Commander-in-Chief, General Musa Khan commanded the Pakistan Army for 8 years starting from October 27, 1958, to September 17, 1966. General Musa was the Army Chief during the 1965 Pakistan-India war.

Via [email protected]

5. Yahya Khan

General Yahya Khan took over the post of Commander-in-Chief from General Musa Khan in 1966 and stayed on the post for 5 years. He became the President of Pakistan in 1969 till December 20, 1971. General Yahya was the last C-in-C of unified Pakistan.

Via Flickr by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi

6. Gul Hassan Khan

Lieutenant General Gul Hassan Khan remained the Army Chief for a brief period from December 20, 1971, to March 2, 1972. He was the first Army Chief of [West] Pakistan after the separation of Bangladesh.

Via Daily Times

7. Tikka Khan

General Tikka Khan was the first Chief of Army Staff, assuming office on March 3, 1972, and stayed in office for 4 years. He vacated the post on March 1, 1976, and he was the third-oldest Army General to lead Pakistan Army at the age of 57 years and 8 months.

Via Flickr by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi

8. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq

General Zia-ul-Haq became the Army Chief on March 1, 1976, and following a military coup, he took over as the 6th President of Pakistan. He overthrew Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto by declaring martial law in 1977 and became the Head of the State in 1978. He died in 1988 in an infamous plane crash.

Via Dawn

9. Mirza Aslam Beg

General Mirza Aslam Beg of 16 Baloch Regiment was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff following Zia’s plane crash in 1988. He stayed in power of the Army for 3 years and retired on August 16, 1991.

Via Wikiwand

10. Asif Nawaz Janjua

Born in Chakri near Chakwal, General Asif Nawaz belonged to 5 Punjab Regiment of Pakistan Army who served as the Army Chief for less than one and a half year. He died of a heart attack under mysterious circumstances at the age of 56.

Via Daily Times

11. Abdul Waheed Kakar

The Army General from 5 FF Regiment, Abdul Waheed Kakar was chosen as the COAS after General Asif Nawaz’s sudden death. He completed his three-year term on January 12, 1996.

Via Flickr by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi

12. Jehangir Karamat

General Jehangir Karamat was another decorated General with awards like Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military) and Tamgha-i-Basalat to his name. He was entrusted with the role of COAS on January 12, 1996, and his term ended on October 6, 1998.

Via Daily Mail

13. Pervaiz Musharraf

Another martial law administrator, General Pervaiz Musharraf stayed as Army Chief for 9 years. He was preferred over General Ali Quli Khan and General Khalid Nawaz Khan by the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. He later overthrew him and assumed the office of the President of Pakistan from June 2001 to August 2008.

Via Moeed Pirzada

14. Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiani

General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiani served as the Army Chief for six years after he was awarded an extension of three years on completion of his first term in November 2010. He was also conferred with awards such as Nishan-i-Imtiaz and Hilal-i-Imtiaz.

Via DND

15. Raheel Sharif

General Raheel Sharif is the brother of Nishan-i-Haider award winner, Major Shabbir Sharif who embraced martyrdom in 1971. Raheel Sharif was chosen as the COAS on November 29, 2013.

Via Financial Times

16. Qamar Javed Bajwa

Born in 1960, Qamar Javed Bajwa succeeded General Raheel Sharif in 2016. His first term is set to complete in November 2019, however, he will stay as the Army Chief for another three years. He has also won the Nishan-i-Imtiaz and Hilal-i-Imtiaz for his services to the country.

Via WSJ

Who do you think has been the most powerful Army Chief? Let us know in the comments section.

Feature Writer


  • Who ever is speeking against these chiefs does not seam a Pakistani to me. These are all the leaders of the Allah’s chosen army. Chosen as the best amongst the entire Muslim Ummah. Let me point toward a few examples that how Allah chose this army for HIS missions.
    In the 1970s a group of terrorists took over the building of Qabah during the Fajr prayer. They already had collected the weapons inside the building. The Saudi govt asked Pakistan for help and Parvez Musharaf (who was on the rank of Major at that time) was given the command of an SSG group for this mission. And they succeeded.
    And about the Zia-ul-Haq, all other matters aside, he once was offering the prayer in Qabah. When the Imam was just about to begin the Prayer, he looked behind and found Zia. The Imam stepped back and said “In your presence I cannot be on the seat of Imam.” When Gen Zia became Imam and began the Prayer, Millions of people behind him cried upon listening his Qirat.
    So think before writing anything against them. If there was no army of Pakistan. It won’t survive a day on Earth. Even there would no any point of creation of Pakistan.

    • No one is doubting the use or service of the Army. Citizens of Pakistan are against its interference in politics which is not their job. Try to understand with a calm mind…

    • >Who ever is speeking against these chiefs does not seam a Pakistani to me.

      Then you are uneducated and narrow minded.

      >These are all the leaders of the Allah’s chosen army. Chosen as the best amongst the entire Muslim Ummah.

      Pak army has lost multiple wars and battles, including Kargil. Are you saying Allahs chosen army lost? Are you saying Allah can’t make his army win? Are you Muslim?

      >When Gen Zia became Imam and began the Prayer, Millions of people behind him cried upon listening his Qirat.

      Gen Zia also slaughters Shias. Is that what Allahs army does? Kill Shias?

      >So think before writing anything against them. If there was no army of Pakistan. It won’t survive a day on Earth. Even there would no any point of creation of Pakistan.

      This is just baseless speculation from the uneducated.

  • and most of them left their beloved country after their retierment. irony is that each and every pakistani knows that maze in k hain, or koi in pe hath ni daal sakta, where in no country no one will ever think about their army as we think, why,, becouse it is like that, its army with , DHA, Fouji cement, askari Bank and parks and merrage halls, i mean kis country mai army ye sub kaam krti hai, ,

  • I humbly request to think-tank of my army to stick to their profession and don’t indulge in dirty politics of the country. They are ruining the image of our one of the best army in the world. Their unpopular acts changing the minds silently. The sounds are becoming louder. please please feel it.I beg to them in the interest of my country ,their country ,our country.

  • #CivilianSupremacy

    “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”

    Quaid-e-Azam Address to Army Officers at Staff College Quetta, 1948

  • General Ayub khan and Gen.Zia only these two were good, not perfect but good. Rest are idiots. TBH I’m against this CIA funded western style democracy. The best solution is kingship. Saudia, UAE, Iran, Brunei, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, etc all are ruled by kings. I’m not saying those countries are perfect but atleast their economic conditions are pretty good. Dollar ka he rate dekh loh. And it has nothing to do with oil agar Pak had oil, even more than iran and saudia combined, even then politicians would have eaten that as well and average joe civilians would not get anything.

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