General Kiyani; The Silent Revolutionary


As gen. Kiyani was a first spy chief to become COAS he made some major but silent changes to develop cooperation between ISI and Army. He reduced the operational and strategic gap between ISI and Army, by tagging the best and brightest to serve as two stars in one of the ISI’s several sub directorates, this was major change as previously ISI’s man could not get four stars. The counter terrorism wing of ISI was restructured to make more effective in the current security situation of Pakistan where Pakistan was facing more internal threats than the external for which ISI was basically trained.

 Operations Rah-e-Rast and Rah-e-Nijat

Operation Rah-e-Rast was launched against the Taliban in the Swat Valley and Malakand Division after the failure of several negotiations with TTP by the political leadership of KPK. Rah-e-Rast was a limited scale operation after little resistance by TTP; Malakand division was cleared of the terrorist. Many TTP operatives were killed or captured, and the remaining were driven back into the tribal areas. Fazlullah the commander of TTP Sawat managed to flee into Afghanistan. During this operation Gen. Kiyani frequently travelled to the conflict areas and met his men fighting against the terrorists.

A successful operation in Malakand division increased the moral of Pakistan Armed forces. The operation was praised and appreciated by the whole nation. As the spirits were high in all the ranks of the Army, operation Rah-e-Nijat was started in tribal areas especially in South Waziristan against the TTP traitors, who were following the takfeeri ideology. Rah-e-Nijat became another successful operation that eliminated the takfeeri groups from South Waziristan.

After the two successful operations, Paksitan Army opened de-radicalization centers in tribal areas and Malakand division that helped the terrorism effected people of the tribal areas to get back to their normal livelihood.

While talking to the relatives of the victims of the Parade lane mosque attack, Gen. Kiyani said “Pakistan is our motherland. It is the bastion of Islam. We live and die for the glory of Islam and Pakistan. Our faith, resolve and pride in our religion and in our country is an asset, which is further reinforced after each terrorist incident,”

There was a major shift in the operation priorities of the Pakistan Armed Forces last year, in 2010 Gen. Kiyani said his force would remain an “India Centric” force till the Kashimir issue and water disputed are resolved and there is a strong perception in India that Gen. Kiyani remained a strong hurdle in giving India the status on Most Favorite Nation. But after some time Pakistan Army has changed its operation priories that now sees the internal threats as biggest risk to Pakistan. This includes the TTP groups in tribal areas and some groups operating from Afghanistan as biggest internal threat.

This sift was considered as weakness of Pakistan Army by Indian Army and Indian generals started to beat the drum of war at the eastern border. Tensions were created at the eastern borders and the LoC by the Indian forces.

In a speech on the occasion of the graduation of the 127th Long course if PMA, Gen. Kiyani sent a warning to Indian general’s that had been threatening military action against Pakistan.

Gen. Kiyani said “Pakistan is a peace loving country and our quest for peace is essentially based on a genuine desire to improve our lot and that of our future generations. Let no one see it as a weakness. We have exercised restraint in the face of some very belligerent statement in recent months. Let I suffice to say that Pakistan is fully capable of responding effectively to any threat. Despite our current focus on internal security we remain fully prepared to defeat an external direct threat”.

Many successful rescue operations speak the about the professionalism of Gen. Kiyani. Especially the Gayari Sector Operation that was carried out to take out bodies of shuhada after an avalanche on the world’s highest battlefield buried 124 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians.

His critics have a big list of the things that Kiyani was not able to do, even some of his critics consider that whatever good things like keeping Army away from the politics he has done was also just because the time that didn’t allowed him to take over the civilian Government. But whatever his critics say or whatever reasons were there behind refraining Army from politics and politicians, it helped a lot to glorify the image of Pakistan Army and laid a great example for the future chiefs of Pakistan Army.

General Kiyani and today’s Pakistan

On November 28- 2013, General Ashfaq Kiyani handed over the responsibilities of Chief of Army Staff to General Raheel Shareef. His critics remember him for Lal Masjid operation, GHQ attack, Mehran base attack, Abbottabad operation, Salal post attack, Kamra base Attack, Raymond Davis and the list goes on.  But these incident happen when you are at a war-like situation and an unfortunate front line ally on War on Terror. This happens when you are threatened from eastern-western borders and have internal security problems. But what matters is the reaction and Gen. Kiyani reacted firmly against the terrorist as well as the coalition partners in War on terror. Blockage of NATO/US supply and major changes in the foreign policy were done by the Government on the recommendations of Gen. Kiyani.

It is natural that we will compare the Pakistan of 2007 with the Pakistan that General Kiayani left for us in 2013 after six years as COAS. But we cannot let the highs or Gen. Kiyani and good things that happened to Pakistan in these six years to get overshadowed by the lows of Gen. Kiyani.

Gen. Kiyani, a relatively “quite man” is remembered as “Master Manipulator” by CIA and the man that Americans say they cannot “read”,  left a comparatively safer and secure Pakistan for us. He left behind the Army that is trained for unconventional wars and ready to face any internal threat.  He left free Swat and comparatively clean Waziristan and FATA. He gave us first democratic transition through ballot box and left behind him a democratic Pakistan. He played an important role in the restoration of Judges and left an independent judiciary for us. He left the tradition of letting democracy blossom in Pakistan for General Raheel Shareef and future COASs. Gen. Kiyani will be remembered as one of the good things that happened to Pakistan at the right time when Pakistan needed the resilience of such an army man as him the most.

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Atiq is an IT professional, his area of interest are Socio-Politico issues of subcontinent and regional security issues with a special focus on Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Can be reached at and tweets at @atiqpkkh.

Discussion3 Comments

  1. Kayani is a munafique sellout, everytime in history when there’s a trouble in pakistan the army proclaims martial law and takes over. Since the genocidal war in afghanistan the pak army has sat back while 100,000 pakistanis have been killed and the infastructure of paksitan getting destroyed, knowing full well that raymond davis networkd are creating terror all over pakistan thanks to the sellout politicians in power and they stayed idle.

  2. Well i agree with his professional achievements in his tenure… He was a top professional no doubt… Dealt the Americans like never before according to some sources… Never compromised for Pakistan in front of the Americans according to some other reports… But when u say he left behind a democratic Pakistan then u r wrong… The current form of government is status quo democracy which is damaging Pakistan more than anything else… So Kayani protected Pakistan and also this status quo democracy equally… Or may be this democracy word tamed Kayani and our Army…

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