Gen. Bajwa Hanging Up his Uniform
Gen. Qamar Bajwa, the chief of the army staff, announced on Friday that he would be hanging up his uniform in a few weeks while urging for national unity and the rule of law.
Gen. Bajwa announced his impending retirement at the National Security Workshop at National Defence University. He said he will do so in about five weeks.
Gen. Bajwa had previously declared his intention to leave his position at the end of November when on a trip to Washington earlier this month.
Army To Stay Away From Politics
In response to the nation’s political unrest, Gen. Bajwa informed workshop attendees that the army had made the decision to abstain from politics. Despite promises from its leadership that it would avoid politics, the army has continued to be accused of meddling in politics in recent months.
In his remarks, Gen. Bajwa also emphasised the importance of “national cohesion and unified response” for safeguarding progress and boosting the national interest.
Military’s Victories Over Terrorism
He reflected on the military’s victories over terrorism. A few months after Gen. Bajwa took over as commander, Operation Raddul Fasaad was started in order to maintain the gains made by earlier counterterrorism operations. Following that, terrorism incidences significantly dropped.
According to the departing chief, establishing the rule of law and the state’s writ is the only way to attain peace and stability.
However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is currently experiencing a comeback, and this year, terrorist assaults have claimed the lives of nearly 400 people—mostly security personnel.
Parliament Passed Legislation
After six years of leading the army, Gen. Bajwa will step down by the end of November. He was appointed army chief in 2016 for a three-year term, but after parliament passed legislation governing the terms of service chiefs in response to the Supreme Court’s rulings, his term was prolonged by another three years.
The retirement age for service chiefs was set by law at 64 years old. Gen. Bajwa has the legal right to serve out another term because he is 61 years old provided the government permits it. This prospect has given rise to unending rumours that he might keep the job.
Member of Federal Cabinet
It is anticipated that the selection process for his successor would start before the end of next week. According to a member of the federal cabinet, influential parts of the administration have advised the prime minister to speed up the appointment procedure because they believe that discontent in the nation was caused by the impending change in command.
According to the procedure, General Headquarters would send a panel of the five senior-most lieutenant generals to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the selection of the new army head via the defence ministry.
The president would nominate the services heads on the prime minister’s suggestion, as stated in Article 243(3) of the Constitution.