Abdul Waheed Kakar

Abdul Waheed Kakar
Birth name Abdul Waheed Kakar
Born (1937-03-23) 23 March 1937
Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, British Indian Empire
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Army
Years of service 1959 – 1996
Rank General
Service number (PA – 5977)
Unit V FF Regiment
27 Azad Kashmir Regiment
Commands held GOC 16th Infantry Division
Adjutant General (AG)
Col.Comdnt of XII Corps
Chief of General Staff (CGS)
Chief of Army Staff
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
Awards Sitara-e-Basalat (Bar)
Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military)

Abdul Waheed Kakar (Urdu: عبدالوحید کاکڑ), NI(M), HI(M), SBt, afwc, fsc(c) (20 March 1937 –) was a four-star general of Pakistan Army who was the Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army from 12 January 1993 to 12 January 1996. He was appointed to that position after the sudden death of former General Asif Nawaz, even though there were four generals with more seniority.[1] As the political climate of the country simmered during his tenure, Kakar pressured both the President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif into resigning, thus precipitating in the 1993 general elections.[2]

Early life

Abdul Waheed Kakar was born on 20 March 1937 at Peshawar, British India (now Pakistan). A nephew of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, he received his education at the Edwardes College, Peshawar. His ancestors belonged to the Kakar Pashtun tribe[3] from what is now Balochistan. His great grandfather migrated north and settled in Peshawar.[4]

Military career

Kakar was commissioned in the Frontier Force Regiment on 18 October 1959 in the 20th PMA Long Course. He is a graduate from Command and Staff College, Canada and National Defence College, Rawalpindi. He saw active service in the 1965 Indo-Pakistani war with an FF unit in Chawinda and as brigade major of an independent infantry brigade in Sulemanki sector in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war - both scenes of major battles in the respective wars.[4]

Later in his career, Kakar served as Corps Chief of Staff to General Rahimuddin Khan and subsequently commanded an infantry brigade. Promoted major general in 1984, he commanded an infantry division in Sindh for three years. Later, he served as Adjutant General at General Headquarters from 1987 to 1989. During that post, Kakar refused to admit a student in the Army Medical College, Rawalpindi despite direct orders from President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, but was forced to do so as the President ordered the increase of overall seats that accommodated the student.[5] On being promoted Lieutenant General in 1989, he was appointed Commander XII Corps at Quetta.[4]

Appointment as Chief of Army Staff

With Kakar's appointment, at least four senior generals were superseded:[4] Lt Gen Rehem Dil Bhatti, commandant National Defence College, Rawalpindi; Lt Gen Mohammad Ashraf, commander IV Corps, Lahore; Lt Gen Farrakh Khan, Chief of General Staff (CGS); and Lt Gen Arif Bangash, quarter-master general (QMG).[1] Among these generals, the last two opted to stay in the army.[6]

Tenure as COAS

After taking over as COAS, Kakar who forced both Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Nawaz Sharif to hand over their resignations at the height of the political and constitutional crisis in 1993. This resulted in the 1993 general elections, in which Benazir Bhutto came into power. After his appointment, a member of the National Assembly remarked, "the era of the Pakhtoons has begun." The president belonged to the Frontier province and so did the new Chief of Army Staff.[4]

During his tenure, General Kakar is remembered for starting the Shaheen Nuclear Missile Project.

Thwarting coup attempt

In September 1995, General Abdul Waheed Kakar discovered a plot by a group of army officers headed by Major-General Zahirul Islam Abbasi, acting in complicity with the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami a militant group, to assassinate him and Benazir Bhutto, the then prime minister, and capture power. This plan was foiled and those involved captured and arrested. General Abbasi was however released after a few years.


Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the then MNA had this to say about the new COAS in 1993, "this is not a General of the Sandhurst colonial brand. I welcome an enlightened man from the rigid mountains of Zhob. He has the professional skills for improving the performance of the Pakistan Army. But more than that he is intelligent enough to comprehend politics and will promote the democratic process. General Waheed is not a religious extremist."[4]


  1. 1 2 Maleeha Lodhi. Pakistan's encounter with democracy (Vanguard, 1994).
  2. Ardeshir Cowasjee. "Here we go again" Archived June 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Dawn, 1 March 2009
  3. The foreign policy of Pakistan: ethnic impacts on diplomacy, 1971-1994. By Mehtab Ali Shah.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Iqbal Haidiri. "New COAS" Economic Review January 1993
  5. "Raising 16 to 29" The Nation, 22 June 2008
  6. "Superseded generals resign" Archived October 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Dawn, 8 October 1998

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Asif Nawaz
Chief of Army Staff
1993 1996
Succeeded by
Jehangir Karamat
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