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Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey (Urdu: ایڈمرل افتخار احمد سروہی; b. 1934) NI(M), HI(M), SI(M), SBt, is a retired four-star rank admiral, strategist, and a memoirist who is currently tenuring his fellowship at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS) in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
In office
9 November 1988 – 17 August 1991
Preceded byGeneral Akhtar Abdur Rahman
Succeeded byGeneral Shamim Alam
Chief of Naval Staff
In office
9 April 1986 – 9 November 1988
Preceded byAdmiral Tariq Kamal Khan
Succeeded byAdmiral Yastur-ul-Haq Malik
Personal details
Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey

1934 (age 84–85)
Karnal, Punjab, British India
Citizenship Pakistan (1947-Present)
British Subject (1934-1947)
Military service
Nickname(s)Admiral IA Sirohey
Branch/serviceNaval Jack of Pakistan.svg Pakistan Navy
Years of service1951–1991
Rank15-Pakistan Navy-ADM.svgUS-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
UnitEngineering Branch
CommandsVice Chief of Naval Staff
DCNS (Personnel)
Commander Pakistan Fleet
Commander Karachi coast
ACNS (Technical)
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Soviet–Afghan War
AwardsOrder of Excellence Nishan-e-Imtiaz.png Nishan-e-Imtiaz
Crescent of Excellence Hilal-e-Imtiaz.png Hilal-i-Imtiaz
Star of Excellence Sitara-e-Imtiaz.png Sitara-i-Imtiaz
Star of Good Conduct Sitara-e-Basalat.png Sitara-e-Basalat

Admiral Sirohey previously tenured as the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of Pakistan Navy from 1986 to 1988, and later ascended as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from 1988 until retiring in 1991. He is only the second four-star admiral in the Navy's history to be appointed as Chairman Joint Chiefs.

After his retirement, he joined the academia after accepting to be inducted in the faculty of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and currently working as a strategist for the Institute of Strategic Studies. He also author his autobiography, Truth Never Retires, in 1996 which was published by the Jang Publishers in Lahore.


Early life and educationEdit

Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey was born in Karnal, a small town, in East Punjab, British India, in 1934.:66[1][2] He hailed from a Punjabi family who were the local farmers in Karnal in East Punjab who moved to Muslim-majority West Punjab in 1940.:12;25–26[3]

The family later moved to Karachi after the independence of Pakistan in 1947.:27[3] After graduating from a local high school in Karachi, he joined the Karachi University to study electronics but saw the Navy's advertisement and decided to write to Ministry of Defence in a view to join the Navy.:64[3] He left the Karachi University in 1951 when he was commissioned in the Navy as Midshipman and did his initial military training at the Pakistan Military Academy before being sent to United Kingdom in 1952.:65[3]

He was educated at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich in England where he did specialised in signals/navigation and gained electrical engineering course degree before returning to Pakistan in 1956.:73–116[3] Upon returning to Pakistan, he was promoted as Sub-Lieutenant in the Navy and formally inducted in the Engineering Branch.:74–75[3]

In 1981, he was directed to attend the course on defence studies at the National Defence University where he attained master's degree on defense analysis in 1983.:286[3]

Staff and war appointmentsEdit

In 1958, Lt. Sirohey joined PNS Badr as its Executive officer, alongside with Lieutenant Iqbal F. Quadir, signals officer.:174[3] He served on this assignment until 1960 when he was appointed aide-de-camp to Cdre M. Hassan, the Commander Karachi (COMKAR).:136–140[3] In 1961–63, he served on PNS Khaibar on various command assignment.:160–172[3] From 1963–64, Lt. Sirohey acted as military advisor to Imperial Iranian Navy (IIN) in a programme funded by the United Kingdom.:152[3]

In 1964, he was promoted as Lieutenant-Commander in the Navy, and participated in the second war with India in 1965.:152[3] Lt.Cdr. Sirohey participated in the naval bombardment of Dwarka air station and acted as second-in-command (S-in-C) of PNS Alamgir commanded by Cdr Iqbal F. Quadir.:152[3] Upon returning, he was appointed to command the PNS Tughril shortly after the war but the appointment was short lived.:152[3]

In 1966–69, Lt.Cdr. Sirohey performed his duties as an aide-de-camp to then-Navy Commander-in-Chief Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan.[4]

In 1970, he was posted in East Pakistan as military adviser to East Pakistan Rifles but later directed to United Kingdom for a diplomatic/defence assignment.:187[3] He returned to Pakistan on 15 November 1971, and was made commanding officer of the PNS Alamgir in the 25th Destoyer Squadron during the war.:xxxi[5]:198–199[6]

After the war, he was promoted as Commander and served as Naval Secretary at the Navy NHQ in Rawalpindi to the Chief of Naval Staff which he remained from 1972–73.:189–199[3] In 1973–75, he served as an instructor at the Pakistan Naval Academy in Karachi and served in the faculty of training until being promoted as Captain.:1966[7] In 1975–76, Capt. Sirohey was appointed as military attaché and served in the High Commission of Pakistan in London, United Kingdom.:364[8]

Upon returning to Pakistan in 1976, Capt. Sirohey was appointed to serve as a Director of Naval Warfare and Operations (DNWO) under COMKAR which he served until 1978.:246[3] During this time, he made pioneering efforts on gaining knowledge on Soviet developed Styx missile acquired by the Egyptian Navy.:247[3] In 1977-79, he was posted in Naval Intelligence and promoted as Commodore in the Navy.:251–252[3] Cdre Sirohey later directed to attend the National Defence University in Pakistan.:286[3] From 1980-83, he served as ACNS (Technical) and later elevated as the DCNS (Personnel) at the Navy NHQ.:173–280[3]

In 1983, he was promoted to two-star rank, Rear-Admiral, and assumed his duties as Commander Karachi coast (COMKAR).:281–300[3] In 1984, he was appointed as Commander Pakistan Fleet and promoted as Vice-Admiral in the Navy. In 1985, Vice-Admiral Sirohey was appointed as VCNS under Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Tariq Kamal Khan.:66[9]

Chief of Naval StaffEdit

On 8 April 1986, President Zia-ul-Haq announced to appoint Vice-Admiral Sirohey as a four star rank admiral and as the new Chief of Naval Staff in a place of retiring Admiral Tariq Kamal Khan.:199[10] On 9 April 1986, Admiral Sirohey took over the command of the Navy from Admiral TK Khan.:199[10]:xxi[11] Before his four-star appointment was confirmed, he was in race with Vice-Admiral Ahmad Zamir who was initially appointed for the post but suddenly died of a heart attack before Vice-Admiral Zamir was notified about the promotion.

He was the most senior admiral in the Navy; therefore, he supersedes no one in the Navy.:xxii[11] His tenure as naval chief saw the enhancement of Navy in terms of both manpower and military procurement from the United States.:xxii[11]

As naval chief, Admiral Sirohey entered in complicated and expensive military procurement deal with the United States Navy in 1986.:59[12] For that purpose in 1987, he went and visited United States and Pentagon to held defence procurement talks with the United States military.:176[13]

In 1987, the United States agreed on transferring of eight Brooke-Garcia class surface warships and repair ship to the Pakistan Navy on a five-year lease under a Foreign Military Sales programme in 1988.:97[10]:147[14] Admiral Sirohey also oversaw the introduction of installing imported Harpoon missiles on its frigates as early as 1988.:97–98[15] He also engaged in procuring the P-3C Orion aircraft for Navy but they weren't delivered until 1996.:97–98[15] In 1988, he also visited China to strengthened military ties with China and Pakistan.:895[16]

Admiral Sirohey had backed decision of General Mirza Aslam Beg, the Chief of Army Staff, to restore the democratic rule after the death and state of President Zia-ul-Haq in 1988.[17] He endorsed Chairman Senate Ghulam Ishaq Khan's bid for Acting President and witnessed the general elections held in 1988 that saw Benazir Bhutto becoming the Prime Minister while forming the government in 1988.[17]

Chairman Joint ChiefsEdit

In 1988, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto appointed Admiral Sirohey as the next Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee to fill the vacancy caused by the death of General Akhtar Abdur-Rahman.[18]:341[19] Admiral Sirohey was the most senior four-star officer in the military and supersedes no one.:341[19]

At the military science circles, Admiral Sirohey was said to be fascinated with the latest technology made him look at the possibilities of procuring a nuclear submarine from China to counter India's acquisition Charlie-class nuclear submarine.:158[15] On multiple occasions, Admiral Sirohey lobbied for procuring the nuclear submarine from China on a short-term lease and had been a strongly advised for maintaining a strong nuclear deterrence.:341–346[3] As Chairman joint chiefs, Admiral Sirohey consolidated the nuclear arsenals development under the patronage of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee as its policy enforcement institution while tightening the security around the program.:159[15] In 1988, he worked with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on reaching with an agreement with India to exchange information on each other's nuclear facilities to avoid unintentional accidents and contingency plans to attack each other's facilities.:301–350[3]

In 1989, he held meetings with Brigadier-General Ali Shamkhani, the Commander of the Iranian Revolution Guard, to hold talks on mutual defence interests.:50[20] However, it was recently revealed by historian that Shamkhani directly demanded the "hand over of the nuclear bombs" as part of the promised made by former President.:50[20] Upon hearing this demands, Admiral Sirohey demurred and General Shamkhani became irate.[21] However, the claim of this meeting cannot be verified as Razaei later confessed that Admiral Sirohey did not recall the meeting "or ever hearing about a deal to sell nuclear weapons to Iran."[21]

Admiral Sirohey, acting as military adviser to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, supported the government's decision to support the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989.:470–588[3] After Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto paid her first state visit to the United States, Admiral Sirohey caught between the political rivalry between President Ghulam Ishaq and Prime Minister Benazir.:77[22] In 1989, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto controversially signed retirement papers and relieved him from the command of the military in order to bring up army chief General Beg in his place.:77[22]:426–427[23] This move was seen as a political move and Benazir Bhutto's attempt to control the military through army and loyalist officers and was said to be a direct attack on military by the political leader.:110[24]

The retirement papers were deemed null and ineffective when President Ghulam Ishaq confirmed that Admiral Sirohey completing his term until 1991 and handled the matters very efficiently.:427[23]:xxxi[11] After the matter became public, Chairman joint chief Admiral Sirohey and army chief General Beg fell out with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as both suspected that the Prime Minister wanted to get rid of them.:302–303[25] Admiral Sirohey became supportive of President Ghulam Ishaq dismissal of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1990, and witnessed the inauguration of Nawaz Sharif becoming the Prime Minister.:303[25]

In 1990, Admiral Sirohey arranged and held state dinner for United States Central Command's commander General Norman Schwarzkopf where, together with army chief General Beg, brief the USCENTCOM on Pakistan Armed Forces battle preparations and military operational capabilities of Pakistan armed forces in Saudi contingent.:319[26]


On 8 November 1991, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif nominated General Shamim Alam as the next Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and was confirmed by President Ghulam Ishaq.:536[3]

On 9 November 1991, Admiral Sirohey retired from his forty-year long military service when his term as Chairman ended and was given a guard of honour by General Shamim Alam.:536[3] Following his retirement, he also founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Engineering Sciences and Advanced Technologies— a think tank dedicated for promoting science and technology in the country where he is its Chief Executive.[27]

In 1992, one year into his retirement, Sirohey joined Sustainable Development Policy Institute and later affiliated himself with The Institute of Strategic Studies in 1995 which he currently works there as a strategist.[citation needed] He is also the author of his autobiography, Truth Never Retires (1996) Jang Publishers, Lahore.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Sirohey is married, and has four sons, Saad, Asad, Samad & Fahd.[3]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ IDSA News Review on South Asia/Indian Ocean. Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  2. ^ pakistanconnections, pc. "پاک بحریہ کے سربراہ۔ ایڈمرل افتخار احمد سروہی". pakistanconnections. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Sirohey, Iftikhar Ahmed (1995). Truth Never Retires: An Autobiography of Admiral Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey. Lahore, Pakistan: Jang Publishers. p. 596. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  4. ^ Kazi, AGN. "Admiral Muzaffar Hussain takes over charge of PN from Admiral Ahsan. Lt Cdr I A Sirohey stands to the right". Flickr.
  5. ^ Cardozo, Major General Ian. The Sinking of INS Khukri: Survivor's Stories. Roli Books Private Limited. ISBN 9789351940999. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  6. ^ Roy, Mihir K. War in the Indian Ocean. Lancer Publishers. ISBN 9781897829110. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  7. ^ Anwar, Dr Muhammad (2005). Stolen Stripes and Broken Medals: Autobiography of a Senior Naval Officer. Author House. ISBN 9781467010566. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  8. ^ Jane, Frederick Thomas (1978). Jane's Fighting Ships. S. Low, Marston & Company. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  9. ^ IDSA News Review on South Asia/Indian Ocean. Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Cheema, Pervaiz Iqbal (1998). The Armed Forces of Pakistan. NYU Press. ISBN 9780814716335. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Cloughley, Brian. A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781631440397. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  12. ^ Rotblat, Joseph. Towards a War-free World: Annals of Pugwash 1994. World Scientific. ISBN 9789810224929. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  13. ^ Pakistan Journal of American Studies. Area Study Centre for Africa, North & South America, Quaid-i-Azam University. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  14. ^ Goldrick, James. No Easy Answers: The Development of the Navies of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, 1945-1996. Lancer Publishers. ISBN 9781897829028. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d Siddiqa-Agha, Ayesha (2001). Pakistan's arms procurement and military build-up, 1979-99 in search of a policy. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave. ISBN 0230513522.
  16. ^ Strategic Digest. Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  17. ^ a b Beg, Mirza (June 19, 2011). "Waiting for the command decision". The Nation, June 19, 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-02-17. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  18. ^ Kazi, MBBS, Doc. "With her Services Chiefs and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff". Retrieved 30 April 2006.
  19. ^ a b Rashid, Abdur. From Makkah to Nuclear Pakistan. Ferozsons. ISBN 9789690016911. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  20. ^ a b Rezaei, Farhad. Iran's Nuclear Program: A Study in Proliferation and Rollback. Springer. ISBN 9783319441207. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  21. ^ a b Hali, SM (24 March 2010). "Method to nuke madness". The Nation (2). SM Hali on the Nation. The Nation. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  22. ^ a b Singh, Ravi Shekhar Narain. The Military Factor in Pakistan. Lancer Publishers. ISBN 9780981537894. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  23. ^ a b Nawaz, Shuja. Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195476606. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  24. ^ Daily Report: Soviet Union. The Service. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  25. ^ a b Kux, Dennis. The United States and Pakistan, 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies. Woodrow Wilson Center Press. ISBN 9780801865725. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  26. ^ Schwarzkopf, Norman. It Doesn't Take a Hero: The Autobiography of General Norman Schwarzkopf. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307764997. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  27. ^ "FASAT - Introduction". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
Military offices
Preceded by
Tariq Kamal Khan
Chief of Naval Staff
1986 – 1988
Succeeded by
Yastur-ul-Haq Malik
Preceded by
Akhtar Abdur Rahman
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
1988 – 1991
Succeeded by
Shamim Alam Khan