Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

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Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
NI(M)   HI(C)   HI(M)   LoM   LoH   OMM
اشفاق پرویز کیانی
Ashfaq Kayani.jpg
8th Chief of Army Staff
In office
29 November 2007 – 29 November 2013
PresidentPervez Musharraf
Preceded byGeneral Pervez Musharraf
Succeeded byGeneral Raheel Sharif
Vice Chief of Army Staff
In office
8 October 2007 – 28 November 2007
Acting Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
In office
8 October 2013 – 29 November 2013
Preceded byGen. Khalid Shameem Wynne
Succeeded byGeneral Rashad Mahmood
17th Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence
In office
3 October 2004 – 8 October 2007
Prime MinisterShaukat Aziz
Preceded byLt-Gen. Ehsan-ul-Haq
Succeeded byLt-Gen. Nadeem Taj
Commander X Corps, Rawalpindi
In office
October 2003 – October 2004
Director General of Military Operations at GHQ
In office
Personal details
Ashfaq Pervez Kayani

(1952-04-20) 20 April 1952 (age 70)
Gujar Khan, Punjab, Pakistan
Alma mater
Civilian awardsHilal-e-Imtiaz (Civilian)
  • Kayani
  • Soldier's Soldier
  • Quiet General
Military service
Branch/servicePakistan Army
Years of service1971–2013
Unit5th Baloch
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani wars and conflicts

War on Terror

Military awards

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani NI(M) HI(C) HI(M) LoM LoH OMM (Urdu: اشفاق پرویز کیانی ; born 20 April 1952), is a retired four-star general of the Pakistan Army who served as the 8th Chief of Army Staff , being appointed on 29 November 2007 after his predecessor Pervez Musharraf retired from his military servhce and remained in the office until 29 November 2013.

Initially appointed as Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) under then-President Pervez Musharraf on 8 October 2007, he formally took over the command of the army when President Pervez Musharraf retired from his military service on 29 November 2007. In addition, General Kayani served as the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and as director of the Directorate-General of Military Operations (DGMO), overseeing major war efforts in the war on terror. On 24 July 2010, Kayani's tenure was extended for three more years by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani to continue the war efforts against the insurgent outfits.[1][2]

Forbes named him the world's 34th most powerful person in 2011[3] and the world's 28th most powerful person in 2012.[3]

Early life[edit]


Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was born at Manghot, a village located in the Punjab Province, on 20 April 1952.[citation needed] The town of Manghot is situated on the Pothohar Plateau bounded on the east by the Jhelum River, on the west by the Indus River. Ashfaq's father was a Junior commissioned officer (JCO) in the Pakistan Army as Subedar major.[citation needed]

His humble background as the son of a JCO has endeared him to the junior ranks of the army. After attending a local high school, Ashfaq successfully enrolled in the Military College Jhelum, Sarai Alamgir and made a transfer to Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1971 in his class of 45th PMA Long Course.[4]


1971 war experience[edit]

Kayani was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion of the famed Baloch Regiment on 29 August 1971.[5] He actively participated and joined the military in the time of 1971 war with Bangladesh.[6]

Academia and professorship[edit]

After the war, Ashfaq continued to resume his studies and became more involved with his studies after joining the Command and Staff College in Quetta.[4] After his graduation, Kayani departed to the United States on deputation and educated at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and the United States Army Infantry School at the Fort Benning.[5] After graduating from the military institutions in the United States, Ashfaq returned to Pakistan and attained his Master of Science in War studies from the National Defence University.[5]

During his long military career, Ashfaq has been on the faculty of School of Infantry and Tactics, also in Quetta.[5] Ashfaq briefly taught war courses at the Command and Staff College in Quetta and later moved on to accepting the professorship of strategic studies and joined the teaching faculty at the National Defence University in Islamabad.[5]

Staff and command appointments[edit]

As a Lt Col, Gen Kayani commanded an Infantry Battalion. As a Brigadier, he commanded an Infantry Brigade.[4] As a Brigadier, he also served as Benazir Bhutto's Military Secretary. Upon his promotion to two-star rank, Major-General Kayani served as the general officer commanding of the 12th Infantry Division stationed in Murree, deployed all over the LoC region and which comes under the X Corps.[4] In 2000, Kayani was moved and appointed as the director of the Directorate–General of Military Operations (DGMO).[4] In 2001, it was during his tenure as DGMO that the intense military standoff between Pakistan and India took place.[4] Reportedly, Kayani only slept a few hours a night during that period as he diligently oversaw the unified armed forces mobilisation and preparedness on the border.[4]

In September 2003, Kayani's promotion to three-star assignment was approved by the President Musharraf and subsequently elevating him to three-star rank, Lieutenant-General. The same year, he was appointed as the field operational commander of the X Corps in Rawalpindi.[4] The promotion indicated Musharraf's significant trust in Kayani, since chief of army staff cannot build a military coup without the help of the X Corps commander. Kayani led the X Corps until October 2004, when he was transferred to the ISI as its director-general.[4]

During Kayani's tenure at the X Corps, he led the successful investigation of the two back-to-back suicide attacks against Musharraf in December 2003. It is believed that Kayani won the trust of Musharraf after the investigation, and a prelude to Kayani's appointment as the sensitive position of ISI chief.[7] He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the civilian medal, for his achievement.

Intelligence service[edit]

Directorship of Inter-Services Intelligence[edit]

In October 2004, Lieutenant-General Ashfaq Kayani was appointed as the director general of Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in place of General Ehsan-ul-Haq, who was promoted as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[4] General Kayani directed the ISI operations and her operatives during a bleak period, with widely spread insurgencies in North-West Pakistan and Balochistan, disclosing of the nuclear proliferation case, and waves of suicide attacks throughout Pakistan emanating from the northwestern tribal belt.[4] In his final days at the ISI, he also led the talks with Benazir Bhutto for a possible power sharing deal with Musharraf.[7] In October 2007, after three years, he was replaced at the ISI by Lt Gen Nadeem Taj.[8]

Kayani was also present at the March 2007 meeting that took place between Musharraf and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, when the former military ruler informed the top judge that he was suspended. Accounts of that meeting narrated that Kayani was the only one among Musharraf's aides who did not speak a word.[9]

Chief of Army Staff[edit]

In October 2007, Kayani's promotion papers for the appointment to the four-star rank was approved by the President Musharraf, and appointed him as the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS). At the time of the promotion, Kayani ultimately superseded the senior-most army general, Lt-Gen. Khalid Kidwai, who was on an extension for one year. On 28 November 2007, Kayani succeeded Musharraf as chief of army staff after Musharraf's retirement.

General Kayani is noted as the second four-star army general who held the directorship of the ISI but later then went on to become the Chief of Army Staff. The first appointment of ISI director being appointed to four-star appointment was in 1999 when General Ziauddin Butt was the first army general who was appointed as army chief after his brief tenure as ISI director.

It was during General Kayani's tenure that Pakistan turned the tide in its war against terror. Gen Kayani is also credited with developing response to Indian cold start doctrine, which the Army validated by conducting Azm e Nau exercises.

Withdrawal of military secondment from civilian institutions[edit]

In January 2008 General Kayani passed a directive which ordered military officers not to maintain contacts with politicians.[10] It was further made public on 13 February 2008 that General Kayani ordered the withdrawal of military officers from all of Pakistan's government civil departments. It was an action that reversed the policies of his predecessor, President Musharraf. It was welcomed by President Musharraf's critics, who have long demanded that the military distance itself from politics. The Pakistani media reported that the army officers would be withdrawn from 23 wide-ranging civil departments, including the National Highway Authority, National Accountability Bureau, Ministry of Education, and Water and Power Development Authority.[11]

General elections in 2008[edit]

On 7 March 2008 General Kayani confirmed that Pakistan's armed forces would stay out of politics and support the new government. He told a gathering of military commanders in the garrison city of Rawalpindi that "the army fully stands behind the democratic process and is committed to playing its constitutional role." The comments made were after the results of the 2008 Pakistani general election where the Pakistan Peoples Party won the election and began forming a coalition government who were opposed to President Pervez Musharraf.[12]

Perceptions of Kayani as COAS[edit]

When he became COAS, several top-level US officials visited General Kayani in succession to make up their own minds about him. Most, including the then CIA chief Michael Hayden, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and former CENTCOM-commander Admiral William J. Fallon came away confident that Kayani "knows what he's doing."[13]

Kayani's first move as army chief was to visit the front lines in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He launched several successful operations against the TTP and its affiliates. All major kinetic operations, except the operation in North Waizirstan, were conducted under command of Gen Kayani. He used to frequently visit the frontlines and was always easily accessible.

Lt Gen Tariq Khan, Pakistan's famed general, has following words for Gen Kayani: "Gen Kayani did more for the Army than many other Chiefs put together".

War in Afghanistan and the United States[edit]

Gen. Kayani and Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (Commander of NATO ISAF and US Forces Afghanistan) during 29th Tripartite Commission meeting.

About the Afghan war, Kayani is reported to have said, "the Pakistani people believe that the real aim of U.S. [war] strategy is to denuclearize Pakistan."[14]

24 April 2013, John Kerry bids farewell to General in Brussels, Belgium.

In January 2011, and after, there was criticism of General Kayani's handling of the Raymond Davis saga. Davis, a CIA contractor, was hastily tried and acquitted of murder charges in exchange for blood money paid to relatives of the victims, after which he was sent out of Pakistan within a matter of hours. Knowing the dynamics of the Pakistani state and the nature of this particular case, it was impossible for Davis to be released and deported from Pakistan without the knowledge and co-operation of Pakistan's Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).[citation needed]

The day after Davis' release, over 40 people were killed in the Datta Khel airstrike in North Waziristan in the FATA, in a drone strike by a US Predator aircraft. The target appeared to be a compound operated by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a Tehrik-i-Taliban leader. The dead included local tribal leaders.[15] The strike, intended to further the local war effort, instead added to the unpopularity of drone strikes and added to the anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. Kayani conducted a rare press conference in which he condemned the drone strike (even persuading the Pakistani government to summon American Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, and lodge a "protest in the strongest possible terms") and labelled it "intolerable". In 2011, after delivering a long lecture at the National Defence University, one staff officer reportedly got up and challenged his policy of co-operation with the United States.[16] The officer asked, "If they don't trust us, how can we trust them?" according to one professor who was briefed on the session.[16] General Kayani essentially responded, "We can't."[16]

Kayani's comments about the Datta Khel strike came to be put in the broader context of public and private communications by Pakistani officials with Washington, including an April 2011, visit by the head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, to CIA Director Leon Panetta at CIA headquarters. "[S]ome officials in both countries [were] saying intelligence ties [we]re at their lowest point since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks spurred the alliance," according to one report. The report went on to say the overall communications included private demands that the CIA suspend drone strikes and also reduce the number of US intelligence and Special Operations personnel in the country. After the ISI-CIA meeting, CIA spokesman George Little said the intelligence relationship "remains on solid footing."[17]


In 2013, General Kayani was in the race for the chairmanship of joint chiefs of staff committee along with Admiral Asif Sandila and Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafiq; though he was shortlisted for the appointment, on 6 October 2013, General Kayani announced that he would be retiring, his due date of retirement in November,[18][19] ending speculation that he might get another extension or would be appointed as Chairman Joint Chief of staff Committee.[20][21]

His retirement was confirmed when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved then-Lieutenant General Raheel Sharif as chief of army staff and Lieutenant General Rashid Mehmood as Chairman Joint chiefs on 27 November 2013. Kayani now resides in Rawalpindi.

Awards and decorations[edit]



(Order of Excellence)



(Crescent of Excellence)




(Crescent of Excellence)


(General Service Medal)

Siachen Glacier Clasp

Sitara-e-Harb 1971 War

(War Star 1971)

Tamgha-e-Jang 1971 War

(War Medal 1971)


(Nuclear Test Medal)


Tamgha-e-Istaqlal Pakistan

(Escalation with India Medal)


10 Years Service Medal
20 Years Service Medal 30 Years Service Medal 35 Years Service Medal 40 Years Service Medal
Tamgha-e-Sad Saala Jashan-e-


(100th Birth Anniversary of

Muhammad Ali Jinnah)


Hijri Tamgha

(Hijri Medal)


Jamhuriat Tamgha

(Democracy Medal)


Qarardad-e-Pakistan Tamgha

(Resolution Day

Golden Jubilee Medal)


Tamgha-e-Salgirah Pakistan

(Independence Day

Golden Jubilee Medal)


Command & Staff College


Instructor's Medal

Turkish Legion of Merit


Order of King Abdul Aziz

(Saudi Arabia)

The Legion of Merit

(Degree of Commander)



Legion of Honour[22]



Order of Military Merit



Unknown Tajikistan Medal


Foreign decorations[edit]

Foreign Awards
 Turkey Turkish Legion of Merit[23]
 Saudi Arabia Order of King Abdul Aziz (Class I)
 USA The Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander)[24]
 France Légion d'honneur
 Spain Order of Military Merit[25]
 Tajikistan Unknown Tajikistan Medal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khan, Iftikhar A., "Kayani to stay on as COAS till 2013: The night of the quiet general", Dawn, 23 July 2010.
  2. ^ Jan, Reza, "Continuity in a Time of Flux: Pakistan Army Chief's Term Extended" Archived 9 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, AEI Critical Threats, 9 August 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b "The World's Most Powerful People – Ashfaq Parvez Kayani". Forbes.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k ISI. "Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (ISI)". Government of Pakistan. ISI Publications. Archived from the original on 9 January 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e PA. "General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani". Government of Pakistan. Directorate for Inter-Services Public Relations. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  6. ^ Syed Shoaib Hasan (17 June 2009). "Rise of Pakistan's 'quiet man'". BBC.
  7. ^ a b Ron Moreau and Zahid Hussain. "The Next Musharraf" Newsweek, 8 October 2007
  8. ^ Ayaz Amir. "Is change in the air?" Dawn, 1 December 2006
  9. ^ "The Insider Brief". Shaan Akbar. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Pakistan military withdraws officers from civilian duties" Archived 4 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine Monsters and Critics, 12 February 2008
  11. ^ "New Pakistan Army Chief Orders Military Out of Civilian Government Agencies, Reversing Musharraf Policy" The New York Times, 2 February 2008
  12. ^ Khalid Qayum. "Pakistan's Army Chief Kayani Pledges to Stay Out of Politics" Bloomberg L.P., 6 March 2008
  13. ^ Chauhan, Swaraaj, "General Kayani: USA's New 'Poster Boy' In Pakistan?", The Moderate Voice, 13 February 2008.
  14. ^ DeYoung, Karen, "New estimates put Pakistan's nuclear arsenal at more than 100", The Washington Post, 31 January 2011.
  15. ^ Rodrigue, Alex (18 March 2011). "Pakistan denounces U.S. drone strike". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  16. ^ a b c Perlez, Jane (15 June 2011). "Pakistan's Chief of Army Fights to Keep His Job". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  17. ^ Entous, Adam, and Matthew Rosenberg, "Pakistan Tells U.S. to Halt Drones", The Wall Street Journal, 12 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  18. ^ "Pakistan's military chief Kayani says he will retire in November". Reuters. 6 October 2013.
  19. ^ "Pakistan's powerful army chief confirms retirement". 8 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Kayani may be retained in powerful security role after retirement". 4 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Coronavirus economic impacts: QWP seeks relief measures for people".
  22. ^ "Inter Services Public Relations Pakistan". Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  23. ^ "Inter Services Public Relations Pakistan". Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  24. ^ "Inter Services Public Relations Pakistan". Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  25. ^ "Spain confers highest military honour upon Kayani". The Express Tribune. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2022.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Vice Chief of Army Staff
Post abolished
Preceded by Chief of Army Staff
2007 – 2013
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (Acting)
Succeeded by