Political Quarantine of Armed Forces
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the outgoing army chief, has stated he is confident that Pakistan will benefit long term from the “political quarantine of the armed forces.” General Bajwa is scheduled to retire tomorrow.
“The institutional will to remain apolitical will remain solid, notwithstanding some criticism and excessive vilification of the armed services through mass media and painstakingly designed false narratives.”
Encouraging Political Stability
In an exclusive interview with Gulf News, he stated, “I am confident that this political isolation of the military forces will augur well for Pakistan in the long run by encouraging political stability and strengthening the army-to-people link.”
Gen. Bajwa’s declaration comes after the military reaffirmed its decision to remain apolitical in recent months. The declarations from the army‘s senior brass were made in response to claims that the military interferes in national politics, frequently favouring one side or the other.
Gen Bajwa’s Final Speech
In his final speech as army chief on November 23, Gen. Bajwa cited popular criticism of the military as a result of its “unconstitutional” meddling in politics during the previous 70 years.
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“For this reason, the army determined in February of last year, after much consideration, that it would never meddle in any political subject. He declared during the Defence and Martyrs Day ceremony, “I tell you, we are strictly resolute on this and will remain so.
Major Force in National Decision-Making
In his interview with Gulf News, Gen. Bajwa elaborated further, stating that the Pakistan Army had always been a major force in national decision-making.
The military “received significant condemnation from the public and politicians alike due to its historic role in the country’s politics,” he said.
Improve Democratic Culture
“By designating the army as ‘apolitical,’ we have limited its responsibility to the constitutionally authorised mission. Despite some people’s unfavourable reactions and personal criticism, this move will help to reenergize and improve democratic culture and boost the ability of state institutions to function and deliver successfully. Above all, this choice will contribute to the army’s long-term reputation improvement, he stated.
Gen. Bajwa continued by stating that, in his judgement, when the military was perceived to get involved in political activities, public support and affinity for the armed services tended to decline.
“Therefore, I thought it prudent to protect the Pakistan Army from the whims of Pakistani politics.”