Abdul Aziz Mirza
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|Abdul Aziz Mirza|
|Birth name||Abdul Aziz Mirza|
Rawalpindi, British Indian Empire
|Years of service||1965–2002|
|Service number||PN No. 2178|
|Unit||18th Destroyer Squadron|
|Commands held||Chief of Naval Staff
Secy at Ministry of Defence (MoD)
Commander Pakistan Fleet (COMPAK)
DG Naval Intelligence (DGNI)
Special Service Group Navy
|Battles/wars||Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Naval operations in 1971
Indo-Pakistani War of 1999
Indo-Pakistani standoff, 2001
Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (French)
|Other work||Pakistan's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2002–2005|
Abdul Aziz Mirza (Urdu: عبدالعزيز مرزا; born 1943; HI(M), NI(M)), is a retired four-star rank admiral and former diplomat who served as the fifteenth Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of Pakistan Navy from 1999 to 2002, and commanded Pakistan Navy during the Indo-Pakistani standoff in 2001.
Prior to his retirement, Mirza assumed the diplomatic assignment when he was nominated and appointed as Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 2002 until 2005. Admiral Mirza is given credit for commissioning the country's first ingeniously and locally built long-range submarine, the Agosta 90B submarine in 1999.
Mirza was born to British Indian Army's Subedar-Major Lal Khan of 10th Baluch Regiment in a small village (Dahmali) Tehsil Kallar Syedan, District Rawalpindi. He comes from a family of military service men who had served in the British Army before the creation of Pakistan. He completed his initial years of schooling in his home town before deciding to choose a career in the armed forces and joining Military College Jhelum.
A graduate of Military College Jhelum (College No. 2178), Mirza was sent to attend the Pakistan Military Academy and went navy-army training with the 29th PMA Long Course, along with Pervez Musharraf (Mirza's lifelong friend) and Ali Kuli Khan. Mirza shared the same dorm room with Musharraf during his college life and together with Musharraf graduated from the Pakistan Military Academy in 1964. After completing the Navy surface course, Mirza was commissioned in Pakistan Navy in 1965 as Sub-Lieutenant in the 18th Destroyer Squadron. Mirza served in the 1965 war and the 1971 war where he led the joint operations with Musharraf against the Indian Army.
In the 1970s, Mirza was sent to attend the National Defence University in Islamabad, where he graduated with the double MSc in War studies and Strategic studies. In 1989, as Commander, he served as an Adjunct professor at the Pakistan Navy War College and joined the faculty of defence studies. Later, he was assigned to the Pakistan Navy Academy in 1990 as a professor of English Literature, where as Captain, Mirza served as the teaching faculty at the Pakistan Naval Academy.
Between Indo-Pakistan wars
In 1966, Mirza joined the elite Naval Special Service Group and was stationed at PNS Dhaka, the headquarters of Eastern Military High Command of Pakistan Armed Forces in East-Pakistan. As Lieutenant, he served as a military advisor to East-Pakistan Army initially tasked with intelligence management. His field experience took place when Mirza became commander of his Navy Group and actively participated in naval ground operations of the 1971 Indo-Pak Winter War whilst commanded a small company of Marines against the Indian Army, and led the little success in given missions. Soon, he was recalled to Pakistan and joined the joint staff in Karachi and served with Pervez Musharraf in a joint army-navy operations against the Indian Army.
In 1975, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander; and Commander in 1980. In 1985, he was promoted to Captain; and finally Mirza was promoted to one-star rank, Commodore, and was made Commander Destroyer Squadron while being the Commanding Officer of PNS Badr (a rare and unusual occurrence) in 1993. Finally, in 1997, Mirza was promoted to two-star commanding rank of Rear Admiral, picked up the assignment at the Ministry of Defence as Additional Secretary-III in 1997. In 1998, he was promoted as three-star rank, Vice-Admiral, where he was made Vice Chief of Naval Staff. Before taking over, Vice-Admiral Mirza was serving as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS).
As Vice-Admiral, he led the Navy after the tension in both country's risen. Though, both country were not at war, he was made the theatre commander at the Runn Kutch's naval expedition. Later, he held a press conference with then-Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mushahid Hussain Syed where he briefed the nation on Navy's operation if such Indian Navy launched the operations against the Pakistan Navy.
On 6 October 1999, he was promoted to full four-Star rank by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the time, and was made Admiral in the Pakistan Navy taking over as the Chief of Naval Staff when Admiral Fasih Bokhari, a war veteran, resigned in protest from the Navy as Admiral Bokhari was denied the Chairmanship of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
He served over 17 years in the submarine service and, before holding the post of the Chief of Naval Staff, he was overseeing the Agosta 90B class submarine construction project in various capacities. During Mirza's time as naval chief, Pakistan built its first indigenous submarine, the French designed Agosta 90B class submarine.
In 2004, Aziz Mirza while serving as Ambassador of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia, was decorated with the rank of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour by the government of France. French Ambassador Bernard Poletti to Saudi Arabia decorated the rank on behalf of the French President to the Ambassador in recognition of his outstanding contribution as the Chief of Naval Staff in Pakistan for the enhancement of co-operation between the navies of both the countries. The ceremony was attended by the Pakistani and French diplomats in Saudi Arabia, distinguished dignitaries of both the communities and a large number of ambassadors from diplomatic corps.
During Pervez Musharraf's military rule, Mirza was replaced by Admiral Shahid Karimullah as the naval chief when he was due to retire in 2002. He was again replaced by Karimullah as Pakistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 2005.
On 14 January 2010, Admiral Mirza gives credence to the recent French investigative report that talked of almost $49 million kickbacks in the Agosta-submarine deal allegedly received by now-President Asif Ali Zardari, former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral (deposed) Mansurul Haq and some of the Naval officers, disclosing that the then Benazir government had urged the Pakistan Navy to go for the French subs.
Currently, Mirza is working as an executive at The Centaurus in Islamabad, overseeing and managing the construction project of a contemporary modern, luxurious master-planned community that integrates residential amenities with a world class shopping mall, a 5-star hotel, corporate and entertainment facilities.
|Chief of Naval Staff