Asif Nawaz

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Asif Nawaz
General Asif Nawaz.jpg
Asif Nawaz (1937–93)
Chief of Army Staff
In office
16 August 1991 – 8 January 1993
DeputyLt-Gen. Farrakh Khan
(Chief of General Staff)
Preceded byGen. Mirza Aslam Beg
Succeeded byGen. Abdul Waheed
Personal details
Asif Nawaz Janjua

(1937-01-03)January 3, 1937
Chakri Rajgan in Jhelum District, Punjab, British India
(Present day in Punjab in Pakistan)
DiedJanuary 8, 1993(1993-01-08) (aged 56)
Rawalpindi Cantt
Cause of deathCardiac arrest
Citizenship Pakistan
RelativesShuja Nawaz (brother)[1]
Alma materPakistan Military Academy, National Defence University
(MSc in War studies)
Military service
Nickname(s)Soldier's Soldier
Allegiance Pakistan
Service/branch Pakistan Army
Years of service1955–93
RankOF-9 Pakistan Army.svgUS-O10 insignia.svg General
UnitBadge of 19th Punjabis.jpg5th Punjab Regiment
CommandsChief of General Staff, Army GHQ
V Corps in Karachi
Cmdnt PMA Kakul
GOC 7th Infantry Division in Peshawar
COS II Corps in Mangla
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Political violence in Karachi

Somali Civil War

AwardsNishan-i-Imtiaz Pakistan.svgNishan-e-Imtiaz (military)
Crescent of Excellence Hilal-e-Imtiaz.pngHilal-i-Imtiaz (military)
Sitara-e-Basalat Pakistan.svgSitara-e-Basalat
Sword of Honour @ Royal Military College of Canada.jpgSword of Honour

General Asif Nawaz Janjua (Urdu: آصف نواز جنجوعہ‎  3 January 1937 – 8 January 1993).NI(m), HI(M), SBt, psc), was a four star rank army general in the Pakistan Army who served the as fourth Chief of Army Staff from 16 August 1991 until 8 January 1993.

His tenure is regarded of stabilizing the civilian control of the Pakistani military, and is one of two chief of staff who died in the office- the other being Adm. H.H. Ahmed in 1975.[2]


Early life, and between the Indo-Pakistani wars (1965–71)[edit]

Asif Nawaz was born in a small village, the Chakri Rajgan, which was located in the Jhelum District in Punjab in India into a Janjua Rajput clan, on 31 January 1937.:81[3]:441[4]:29 He was a military brat and his father, Raja Abdul Ghafoor Khan, had served as an officer in the British Indian Army, retiring at the rank of Major.:441[5]

He was educated at the St Mary's Cambridge School in Murree Road in Rawalpindi where two Irish teachers, Father Francis and May Flanagan, had significant influence in his upbringing who taught him the value of life and humanity for his future career.[6] After his matriculation, he went to join the Pakistan Military Academy in 1954, and was one of very few cadets to be selected to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in the United Kingdom.:2[7] After completing his initial military training, he passed out from the academy in 1957 and was conferred with the Sword of Honour by the Academy's commandant.:441[4]

Upon returning to Pakistan, 2nd-Lt. Asif was given commissioned in the 5th Sherdils Battalion of the Punjab Regiment on 31 March 1957.[8]

In 1965, Captain Nawaz saw actions in the second war with India in 1965 on the northern front.:2[9] In 1970-71, Major Asif was stationed with the Eastern Command in Eat-Pakistan, serving as a brigade major in the 111th Infantry Brigade.:316[4] In 1971, Major Asif was posted and went participate in the third war with India in 1971 after taking over the command of his 5th Battalion and saw combat actions in Chamb sector against the Indian Army.:441[10]

After the third war with India in 1971, Major Asif continued his military service and eventually entered in the Command and Staff College in Quetta where he excelled well in his studies and qualified as a psc.:441[11] In 1976-77, Col. Asif went to attend the National Defence University where he attained his MSc in War studies.:441[11]

War and command appointments in the military[edit]

In 1977, Brigadier Asif was appointed as Chief of Staff of the II Corps stationed in Multan under the command of its field commander, Lt-Gen. M. Shariff.:441[11] In 1982, Brig. Asif was promoted as two-star rank army general, and escape from martial law appointments by President Zia-ul-Haq.:81[3] From 1982–85, Major-General Asif was posted in Peshawar and served as the GOC of the 7th Infantry Division, posted with the XI Corps.:81[3]

In 1985, Maj-Gen. Asif was appointed as Commandant of the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul which he served until 1988.:81[3] In 1988, Maj-Gen. Asif was among one the last army generals who were approved for the three-star rank promotion by Prime Minister Mohammad Junejo, and was appointed his field commander of the V Corps by then-Chief of Army Staff Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg.:81[3]

In April 1991, Lt-Gen. Asif was moved to Rawalpindi when he was appointed at the Army GHQ as the Chief of General Staff (CGS), the second-in-command of the army, under the army chief Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg.[12]

Chief of Army Staff[edit]

In 1991, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the timely retirement of Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, and there were four senior army generals who were in race of promotion to four-star appointment in the Pakistani military, included with seniority:

The senior most military officer in the military, Lt-Gen. Asif recommendation came from the former Chairman joint chiefs Gen.Rahimuddin Khan when the second most senior military officer, Lt-Gen. Shamim Allam was eventually elevated as the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[14] Lt-Gen. Asif was confirmed to this four-star promotion by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on 11 June 1991.[12][15]

His command over the army came when the military embargo had been placed by the United States due to the suspicion about his country's clandestine atomic bomb program.[2] Gen. Asif immediately released the press release through the ISPR where he committed towards preventing the military interference in the national politics when he noted that "army's image had been tarnished and its officers corrupted in Pakistan's 25 years of martial law."[2] Gen. Asif, who had pro-western views, worked together with Chairman joint chiefs Gen. Shamim and his JS HQ to improve bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States when he agreed to deploy the combat brigades of the Pakistan Army in Somalia as part of the UN Mission to end the civil war in the country.[2]

His political views reflected the libertarianism and tried to improve the military-to-military relations with the Indian Army when he successfully took Pakistan out of what he saw as the dead-end legacy of policy of Islamism by former conservative President Zia.[12] During Nawaz's tenure, the army took on the surprising role of becoming a protector of a free press and liberal values of criticism.[12]

As an army chief, Gen. Asif played a crucial role in providing the military aid to the civilian Government of Pakistan when he deployed the Pakistan Army Rangers to aid the Sindh Police against the dacoits and gangs in Karachi and rural Sindh.[12]

Death and legacy[edit]

Asif Nawaz died on 8 January 1993, while he was jogging near his home in Rawalpindi. The death was ruled a heart attack, but his family commissioned a private test on hair from his brush, which was conducted in the United States. The test registered high levels of arsenic. As a result, his body was exhumed, and an autopsy was conducted by French, British, and American doctors. No poison was found in his body, and the cause of death was determined to be a heart attack.[16]

Nawaz was succeeded by General Abdul Waheed Kakar as the next Army Chief.


Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister, then described Nawaz as "a true professional soldier," and further stated that "he did what he said he would do – he kept the army out of politics."[2] Unlike many of his predecessors, Nawaz was incorruptible and often talked of how he would relax when he retired, unlike other generals who plunged into politics.[12]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "'Pakistan's armed forces second to none'". DailyTimes. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Gen. Asif Nawaz of Pakistan, 56, A Champion of Democracy, Dies" The New York Times, 9 January 1993
  3. ^ a b c d e Burki, Shahid Javed (2015). "§Asif Nawaz (1937-1993)". In Woronov, Jon. Historical Dictionary of Pakistan (google books) (4th ed.). New York: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 657. ISBN 9781442241480. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Nawaz, Shuja (2008). Crossed swords : Pakistan, its army, and the wars within (snippet view) (1st ed.). Karachi: Oxford University Press. p. 665. ISBN 9780195476606. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ Nawaz, Shuja (2008). Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195476606.
  6. ^ Ahmad, Rashid (11 January 1993). "Obituary: General Asif Nawaz". The Independent. The Independent, Pakistan Desk. The Independent, Pakistan Desk. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  7. ^ Defence Journal. 1993. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  9. ^ Defence Journal. 1993. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  10. ^ Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within. 2008. ISBN 9780195476606. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Excerpts from Crossed Swords. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Ahmed Rashid. "Obituary: General Asif Nawaz " The Independent, 11 January 1993
  13. ^ a b c d Asian recorder. Published by K. K. Thomas at Recorder Press, 1991
  14. ^ Nawaz, Crossed Swords, (2007)
  15. ^ "New and improved" The Economist, June 1991
  16. ^ "No Poison Found in Pakistan Officer's Body". Reuters. 14 December 1993. Retrieved 8 March 2016 – via The New York Times.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Shamim Alam Khan
Chief of General Staff
Succeeded by
Farrakh Khan
Preceded by
Mirza Aslam Beg
Chief of Army Staff
Succeeded by
Abdul Waheed Kakar