ISLAMABAD -  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would start the process of appointing new army chief after Eid, it was learnt here on Monday.

Sources in government said that the PM has no plan to give another extension to the present Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who is retiring in November this year.

The sources privy to the developments on this front said that PM Nawaz is considering five names to pick a final name for COAS position. These names are Lieutenant General Khalid Nawaz, Muhammad Alam Khattak, Lt-Gen Haroon Aslam, Lt-Gen Rashad Mehmood, Lt-Gen Raheel Sharif and Lt-Gen Tariq Khan.The sources further said that Lt-Gen Tariq Khan and Lt-Gen Rashad Mehmood are two hot favourites for the COAS position. Lt-Gen Tariq Khan is presently serving as Corps Commander Mangla while Rashad Mehmood is Chief of General Staff at General Headquarters. Khalid Nawaz who is third favourite candidate for COAS-ship is retiring in October 2013. However, the sources reading these developments do not attach much importance to his retirement if he is to be chosen for coveted military head slot.

"COAS post is a tenure appointment for three years. If any retiring general is selected for COAS position, he gets three-year extension by default. Retirement issue is not pertinent on this front," they said.

The sources pointed out that former DG ISI Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha was retiring from army in 2007 when he was DG Military Operations in Musharraf era. However, when incumbent COAS General Kayani took over, he promoted Pasha and appointed him DG ISI by virtue of which, he got three-year extension because every two-star general gets three years of extension in service on promotion, the sources confided.

As per military requirement, every candidate for COAS chair should hold staff and command appointments in his career as three-star general.

Khalid Nawaz, Tariq Khan, Rashad Mehmood, Haroon Aslam, Alam Khattak and Raheel Sharif all have held command and staff appointments during their careers. Presently, Haroon Aslam is Chief of Logistics Staff at GHQ, Alam Khattak is Corps Commander Quetta, Raheel Sharif is Inspector General Training and Evaluation, Khalid Nawaz is Corps Commander Rawalpindi, Tariq Khan is Corps Commander Mangla and Rashad Mehmood is Chief of General Staff at GHQ.