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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Pakistan generals reshuffled
General Musharraf with President Tarar
General Musharraf made the changes before leaving for New York
By Susannah Price in Islamabad

The Pakistani military has announced sweeping changes to several key positions - the first since last October's coup.

There had been various rumours about the transfers among the army's top brass all week but the changes have only now been officially announced.

The reshuffle comes shortly before General Pervez Musharraf, who is also the chief of army staff, leaves for New York for the United Nations millennium summit.

The Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Aziz Khan, is being posted to Lahore as corps commander.

General Aziz was seen as one of the main power brokers behind last year's coup.

Key changes

Some analysts believe the move should be seen in a positive light, as anyone aspiring to become chief of army staff must first serve as a corps commander.

Pakistan coup, October 1992
The first reshuffle since the coup
General Aziz Khan was one of two three-star generals who had not commanded a corps up to now and will be looking to prove his worth in a field posting.

However, others believe he may be out in the cold once he has left Islamabad.

He is replaced by Lieutenant General Yousuf Khan, who was previously the corps commander in Multan and who is expected to take charge next week.

General Yousuf, who will be the second most important rank holder in the army, is known for his low key style.

Meanwhile, the Lahore corps commander is being installed as chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which is seen as a challenging appointment.

Military sources are quoted as saying that Lieutenant General Khalid Maqbool may ease up pressure on business groups and concentrate more on investigating politicians and defence contracts.

The former head of the NAB is also going to take up a position as a corps commander.

Routine

A military spokesman said the changes were purely routine and there was no political basis to them.

General Musharraf's supporters say these changes are based on performance and delivery rather than personal likes.

More changes may take place following the retirement of other generals, and some promotions are expected to be announced soon.

Military officials say the reshuffle will not alter key issues such as nuclear defence, Kashmir and Afghanistan.

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See also:

15 Aug 00 | South Asia
Pakistan ruling body shaken up
12 May 00 | South Asia
Pakistan court limits army rule
23 Mar 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Musharraf's record in power
31 Jul 00 | South Asia
Pakistan after the coup: Special report
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