How Will History Remember Gen Bajwa?

How Will History Remember Gen Bajwa?

Non-Elected Public Official’s Appointment

Never in the history of Pakistan has a non-elected public official’s appointment been the subject of as much rumor as the COAS position. 

After 44 years of service in the Pakistani Army, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa will retire on November 30, 2022, losing the enormous power he presently has. He might want to think back to Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s remark, delivered upon his retirement and famous for his role in Operation Desert Storm: “Yesterday, I commanded over 500,000 soldiers; today, I cannot get a plumber to come to the house.” 

Gen. Bajwa is Not Powerless in Retirement

It’s possible that Gen. Bajwa is not as powerless in retirement as Gen. Schwarzkopf stated. However, he would impart his conviction that having a manipulative streak is necessary for effective leadership.

On November 29, 2016, prime minister Nawaz Sharif named Gen. Bajwa COAS. He was the fourth most senior. It was claimed that Bajwa’s intervention in the general elections of July 2018 propelled PTI leader Imran Khan to victory. 

Imran Khan Gave Gen. Bajwa 3 Year Extension

Imran Khan gave Gen. Bajwa a three-year extension in 2019 in an effort to maintain his own continuity. He solidified this by amending the Pakistan Army Act of 1952 to allow the COAS to be extended for an additional three years till he became 64. A court could not “bring into doubt” such an extension on any grounds. 

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This custom-made, unbreakable clause appears to have been useless for Gen. Bajwa. He has made a lot of mistakes that have damaged the unquestionable authority he formerly held for six years. 

Bajwa Became the Object of Criticism

Recently, a local daily issued a requiem commemorating his time as COAS. According to the article, “during his stint as the COAS, the Pakistan Army came under intense public scrutiny due to its perceived participation in politics, and as the country’s top official, Gen. Bajwa himself became the object of criticism from politicians, the media, and civil society. However, despite persistent criticism from a variety of sources, the outgoing COAS was successful in creating new standards.” 

For instance, it claims that the Pakistan Army only receives a pitiful 7% [Rs594 billion] of the overall budgeted resources. The Pakistan Army has forfeited Rs. 100 billion of its financial allotment in 2019 to boost the national economy. Despite these limitations, Gen. Bajwa “did not compromise on the Pakistan Army’s professional standards and it is ranked as the ninth most powerful force in the world by the Global Firepower Index. 

Top Taxpayers in Nation

It reveals that “Pakistan Army also provided Rs28bn in fiscal year 2020/21 as direct taxes to the government exchequer,” in response to those who doubt the rapacious reach of Military Inc. With Rs150bn in taxes, charges, and levies paid to the national exchequer in fiscal years 2020–21, Fauji Group ranks among the top taxpayers in the nation. Fauji Foundation paid the government Rs 1 trillion in taxes and levies during the previous five years. Additionally, the Fauji Group spent Rs1.377 billion in 2021–2022 on community service projects and charitable giving as part of their CSR efforts.

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