Abdul Waheed Kakar

General Abdul Waheed Kakar (Urdu: عبدالوحید کاکڑ‎; b. 23 March 1937), NI(M), SBt, is a retired four-star rank army general in the Pakistan Army who served as the Chief of Army Staff, appointed on 12 January 1993 until retiring on 12 January 1996.


Abdul Waheed Kakar
Birth nameAbdul Waheed Kakar
Born (1937-03-23) 23 March 1937 (age 83)
Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, India
(Present-day, Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Allegiance Pakistan
Service/branch Pakistan Army
Years of service1956–1996
RankOF-9 Pakistan Army.svgUS-O10 insignia.svg General
Service numberPA–5977
Unit5th Frontier Force Regiment
Commands heldChief of Army Staff
XII Corps in Peshawar
Adjutant General, Army GHQ
GOC 16th Infantry Division
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
AwardsOrder of Excellence Nishan-e-Imtiaz.pngNishan-i-Imtiaz (military)
Star of Good Conduct Sitara-e-Basalat.pngSitara-e-Basalat

His appointment came in response to the sudden death of tenuring army chief, General Asif Nawaz, and notably superseded five senior high ranking army generals with more years of seniority.[1] General Kakar oversaw the national general elections, after he secured the resignations of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resolve the Constitutional crisis in 1993.[2]


Abdul Waheed Kakar was born into a Pashtun family of the Kakar tribe in the suburbs of Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province in India on 23 March 1937.:2[3] His tribe, Kakar, originally hailed from Zhob, Baluchistan in Pakistan, and was fluent in Pashto.:107–108[4][5] His family later had migrated to North and eventually found a way to be settled in Peshawar.[6]

His uncle, Abdur Rab Nishtar, was listed as one of the founding fathers of Pakistan who would later serve as the Governor of Punjab as well as serving as the President of Pakistan Muslim League.:2[3] After graduating from local high school in 1955, Kakar went to attend the Edwardes College where he secured his graduation.:4–5[7] He joined the Pakistan Army in 1956, and was directed to attend the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul where he was expected to pass out from the academy in 1958 but was held back for a 6-month term.:502[8] Eventually, Waheed gained commission in the Frontier Force Regiment in 1959 as a 2nd-Lt.:85–86[9]

His combat duty witnessed the military actions in Chawinda in Sialkot Punjab in Pakistan against the Indian Army during the conflict with India in 1965.:2–3[10] In 1971, Major Kakar served as the brigade major of an independent infantry stationed at the Sulemanki sector, and fought against the Indian Army.[11]:5–6 His combat duty during the actions of both wars served his reputation as did scenes of major battles in the respective wars.[6]

After the war, Major Kakar was selected to attend the Command and Staff College in Canada, where he stood first in the examinations and qualified as a psc.:85–86[9] He was later selected to attend a staff course program.[12] Upon returning from Canada, he continued his education when he was selected to attend the National Defence University (NDU) where he studied and attained graduation in War studies degree at the Armed Forces War College (afwc) of the National Defence University.:4–5[7]

In 1976–78, Brig. Kakar was appointed as Chief of Staff of the II Corps, stationed in Multan, commanded by then-Lieutenant-General Rahimuddin Khan.[13] In 1984, Major-General Kakar was subsequently given the command of the 16th Infantry Division in Quetta as its GOC.[13] In 1987–89, Maj-Gen. Kakar was appointed as an Adjutant-General at the Army GHQ. At the time he was ordered to admit three students in the Army Medical College but he refused despite direct orders from the President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, as they did not meet the minimum criteria. The President then ordered the increase of overall seats from 60 to 100.[14] In 1989, Lieutenant-General Kakar was posted as field commander of the XII Corps, stationed in Quetta.[6]

Chief of Army StaffEdit

In summer of 1993, the MoD announced the names of retiring army generals who were due retirement, and such list included Lt-Gen. Kakar as he was also seeking the retirement.:572[15]

Without consulting the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan nominated and approved the appointment papers of junior-most Lt-Gen. Kakar to the promotion of senior four-star rank when elevating him as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).:146[16]

The appointment was extremely controversial due to Lt-Gen. Kakar superseding at least five senior army generals, including::77–78[17][6]

Among these listed army generals, the CGS, the QMG, and the DG ISI, opted to stay to serve on their assignments despite being overlooked for the promotions.[18]

After his appointment, a member of the National Assembly who belonged to PMPA was quoted: "the era of the Pakhtoons has begun. The president belonged to the Frontier province and so did the new Chief of Army Staff."[6]

After assuming the command of the army as its army chief and contrary to the expectations of President Ghulam Ishaq, General Kakar played a decisive role in resolving the constitutional crises by securing first the resignation of President Ghulam Ishaq and later Prime Minister Sharif in 1993.:303–304[19] This allowed the holding of the nationwide general elections that witnessed the return of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto, who eventually became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.:304[19] During his tenure, General Kakar was instrumental in securing the government funding for the Shaheen project developed under the PAEC's scientists.[20]

In September 1995, General Abdul Waheed Kakar played a crucial role in sustaining the democracy by having 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, to capture power.[21] This plan was foiled by the Military Intelligence and the Military Police who initiated the operation to have those involved captured and arrested.[21]

In 1996, General Kakar reportedly declined the extension of his service and there was no public statement on the matter.[21] After his retirement, he never appeared in public and lives a very quiet life in Rawalpindi.[21]


General Kakar had an imposing and robust personality that brokered no nonsense. :160[22] In the military, he was popular among his colleagues as a flamboyant rider and a mountaineer.:40[23]

His reception as an army chief was hailed and celebrated by the Pashtuns nationalists when Mahmood Achakzai, then-MNA, reportedly remarked in the news media in 1993: "This is not a General from the Sandhurst colonial brand. I welcome an enlightened man from the rigid mountain ranges of Loralai. He has the professional skills for improving the war 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."[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b Sehgal, Ikram (1993). "Wishing the Chief Well" (googlebooks). Defence Journal. 18 (1–6): 50. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  4. ^ Kiessling, Hein (2016). "§The Down Fall of Nawaz Sharif" (googlebooks). Faith, Unity, Discipline: The Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. London, U.K.: Oxford University Press. p. 310. ISBN 9781849048620. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  5. ^ The foreign policy of Pakistan: ethnic impacts on diplomacy, 1971-1994. By Mehtab Ali Shah.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Iqbal Haidiri. "New COAS" Economic Review January 1993
  7. ^ a b "General A.W. Kakar". Economic Review. 1993. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  8. ^ Nawaz, Shuja (2008). Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195476606. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  9. ^ a b "General's Election". 19. Asiaweek Limited. 1993. Retrieved 19 December 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Excerpts from Defence Journal. 1993. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  11. ^ Excerpts from Economic Review. 1993. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  12. ^ Defence Journal. 1993. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b Sehgal, Ikram (19 January 1993). "Changing of the guard". www.sehgalfamily.com. Ikram Sehgal publications. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  14. ^ Reporter, Our Staff (22 June 2008). "Raising 16 to 29". The Nation. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  15. ^ Burki, Shahid Javed (2015). Historical Dictionary of Pakistan. Oxford, U.K.: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 658. ISBN 9781442241480. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  16. ^ Mitra, Subrata Kumar; Enskat, Mike; Spiess, Clemens (2004). "§The Muslim League Under Nawaz Sharif" (googlebooks). Political Parties in South Asia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 369. ISBN 9780275968328. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  17. ^ Cloughley, Brian (2008). "§After Aslam Beg (1991-93)" (googlebooks). War, Coups & Terror: Pakistan's Army in Years of Turmoil. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. pp. 210. ISBN 9781602396982. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
    • The list including the superseding five senior army generals by seniority:
  18. ^ a b Staff Reporter, Agencies (10 October 1998). "Superseded generals resign". asianstudies.github.io (04/40). Dawn Newspapers. DAWN WIRE SERVICE. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  19. ^ a b Jaffrelot, Christophe (2004). "Chronology" (googlebooks). A History of Pakistan and Its Origins (1st ed.). Anthem Press. p. 300. ISBN 9781843311492. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  20. ^ "General Abdul Waheed". www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk. Archived from the original on 7 May 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d Hussain, Zahid (27 January 2016). "The general's retirement". DAWN.COM. Dawn newspapers, 2016. Dawn newspapers. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  22. ^ Abbas, Hassan (2015). Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism: Allah, the Army, and America's War on Terror. Routledge. ISBN 9781317463283. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  23. ^ Asiaweek. Asiaweek Limited. 1993.

External linksEdit

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