Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Sawar Khan was promoted to Lt General on 24 March 1976 by General Zia-ul-Haq. Sawar Khan who at the time was serving as Adjutant General (AG) at the GHQ was sent as the Commander XI Corps, Peshawar, where he replaced the recently superseded Lt. Gen. Majeed Malik.
In 1978 When Zia imposed martial law, the then Lt Gen Sawar Khan was sent as the governor of Punjab province in 1978, in addition to his responsibilities as Commander IV Corps, Lahore. He was part of small coterie of generals under General Zia ul-Haq, who determined the national security policies in the martial regime. He served as a Governor of Punjab, Pakistan till March 1980.
He was part of small coterie of generals under General Zia ul-Haq, who determined the national security policies in the martial regime. n April 1980, when the post of the deputy chief of army staff (created by Zia-ul-Haq) was redefined and re-designated as the Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Sawar replaced Lt Gen Iqbal Khan, the first deputy chief of army staff who took over in 1978. General Sawar was replaced by the Zia’s deputy General Khalid Mahmud Arif in March 1984 after completing the four-year term. He was awarded with Nishan-e-Imtiaz for his Excellent service to the Nation.