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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 435, 29 November 2022

Vilification of the army is ‘undue,’ says Gen Bajwa



How he defends the establishment’s apoliticism

Bhoomika Sesharaj

On 29 November, Lieutenant General Asim Munir was named the new army chief in a ceremony held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, marking the end of Gen Bajwa’s six-year tenure. Gen Munir was chosen by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and will be the 17th COAS to assume the command of the Pakistan Army. Addressing the ceremony before he was handed the baton of command, Gen Munir said that he was “thankful” for the opportunity and was lauded by Gen Bajwa as an “expert and capable” army general and that he would prove to be “positive” for both the country and the army.

Bajwa’s statement
On 29 November, outgoing COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said that he is sure of the “political quarantine” of the armed forces of the country and that it will herald well for Pakistan in the long run. Bajwa emphasised that the “institutional” purpose of the establishment to stay “apolitical” will be “steadfast.” This comes as Bajwa has consistently maintained that the army has been apolitical and has identified that the military’s “unconstitutional” interference in politics has been a primary reason for criticism by the people. He said that the army is “strictly adamant” on remaining away from the politics in the country and that this decision would help in “strengthening” the “democratic culture” of the country. While talking about the prudency of this decision, Bajwa said that Pakistan is in a “delicate” position and that its situation with its neighbouring regions remains volatile.

He said that the country finds itself between a power-mongering “contestation” of the US and China and that it does not want to get involved in any “future iteration” of the Cold War. Additionally, he said that Pakistan has “desired” peaceful and friendly relations with its neighbours, Afghanistan and Iran respectively and that the establishment will foresee efforts towards the containment and “residue” of terrorism and political intolerance. (“‘Apolitical’ army good for Pakistan: Bajwa,” Dawn, 29 November 2022; “Gen Asim Munir takes command as 17th chief of army staff,” Dawn, 29 November 2022)

 
 

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