Adm. Muhammad Zakaullah, the new head of Pakistan’s Navy who took office on Tuesday, is viewed as a highly experienced officer who will have to focus on base security and improving Pakistan’s submarine force.
Zakaullah, the serving deputy chief of the Naval Staff, followed Adm. Muhammad Asif Sandila, who retired after completing his three-year term, which began in October 2011.
On assuming office Zakaullah said, “In all areas of Pakistan’s Navy, development and merit will be first priorities,” adding that he would strive to improve the Navy’s operational capabilities.
According to the Navy’s media branch, Zakaullah joined the Navy in 1975 and was commissioned as an officer in 1978.
His operational commands include that of a destroyer and the command of the 25th Destroyer Squadron. He was also commandant, Pakistan Naval Academy, commander Pakistan Fleet, and took command of the Multinational Maritime Task Force “Combined Task Force 150,” combating illegal activity in the Arabian Sea and western Indian Ocean region to the Horn of Africa.
He attended Royal Naval Staff College in the UK and National Defence University Islamabad.
Analyst, author and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, says Zakaullah is a safe pair of hands on the tiller who is likely to focus on matters such as the long-delayed efforts to modernize and expand Pakistan’s submarine flotilla.
“So far as I can gather he will not make any waves politically, although he is bound to fight strongly for an increase to the submarine fleet,” he said.