Son of a proud soldier of Pakistan Army, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani rose through the ranks and succeeded General Pervez Musharraf as the 14th Chief of the Army Staff on 29 November 2007. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, on 24 July 2010 extended his term as Chief of the Army Staff by three years, making Ashfaq Parvez Kayani the first army chief to receive a term extension from any democratic government.
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani recieved his early education at local high school in village Manghot, district Gujar Khan. He was then admitted in the Military College Sarai Alamgir and subsequently moved to Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, where he attended the 45th PMA Long Course and graduated in 1971. Kayani was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion of the famed Baloch Regiment on 29 August 1971. He actively participated and joined army in time of 1971 war with India.
He successfully completed the course at Staff College Quetta. subsequently, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was sent to United States and was educated at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and the United States Army Infantry School at the Fort Benning. After completing his studies from the military institutions in the United States, he returned to Pakistan and gained his Master of Science in War studies from the National Defence University.
During his long military career, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been on the faculty of School of Infantry and Tactics in Quetta. He briefly taught war courses at the Command and Staff College in Quetta and later moved on to accepting the professorship of strategic studies and joined the teaching faculty at the National Defence University in Islamabad.
As Lieutenant-Colonel, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani commanded an Infantry Battalion and an Infantry Brigade, as Brigadier. Later, he served in the government of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as her deputy military secretary during her first stint as prime minister. Upon his promotion to Major General, he served as the general officer commanding of the 12th Infantry Division stationed in Murree. In 2000, he was moved and appointed as the director of the Directorate General of Military Operations (DGMO). In 2001, it was during his tenure as DGMO that the intense military standoff between Pakistan and India took place. Kayani only slept a few hours a night during that period as he diligently oversaw the unified armed forces mobilisation and preparedness on the border.
In September 2003, his promotion was approved by President Pervez Musharraf, elevating him to the rank of Lieutenant General and was appointed as the field operational commander of the X Corps in Rawalpindi. Kayani led the X Corps until October 2004, when he was transferred to the ISI as its director-general.
General Kayani directed the ISI operations and her operatives during a bleak period, with widely spreaded insurgencies in North-West Pakistan and Balochistan, disclosing of the nuclear proliferation case, and waves of suicide attacks throughout Pakistan emanating from the northwestern tribal belt. In his final days at the ISI, he also led the talks with Benazir Bhutto for a possible power sharing deal with Musharraf.
In October 2007, his promotion for the appointment to the four star General was approved by the President Musharraf, and was appointed as the Vice Chief of Army Staff. On 28 November 2007, Ashfaq Pervez Kayani superseded General Pervez Musharraf as chief of army staff. General Kayani is the first four-star General in the history of Pakistan who held the position of director of ISI and then went on to become the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). The last time a Director General of the ISI was to be made army chief in 1999, the army staged a bloodless coup to reinstate the proposed outgoing Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf.
In March 2008 General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani confirmed that Pakistan's armed forces will stay out of politics. He told a gathering of military commanders in Rawalpindi that the army stands behind the democratic process and is committed to playing its constitutional role. The comments made were after the results of the general election, 2008 where the Pakistan Peoples Party won the election and began forming a coalition government who were opposed to President Pervez Musharraf.
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who retired as four star general on 29 November 2013 is a keen golfer. He was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the civilian medal, Nishan-e-Imtiaz Military for his achievement. He is married and has two children, a son and a daughter.