ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will retire Tuesday, according to sources, after completing a six-year tenure as head of country’s all-powerful military.
Earlier this month, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met his older brother and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London to discuss the appointment of the next army chief.
A change of command ceremony will be held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday morning during which Bajwa will pass the baton to his successor, General Asim Munir, who will become the 17th army chief of the country, as Arab News wrote.
“Under the leadership of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army demonstrated exemplary services in effectively dealing with various challenges, including the country’s exclusion from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List, COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent flashfloods,” the PM office said in a statement.
“You had the honor of leading the best army in the world,” he added as quoted by the Arab News.
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In an interview published in an international media outlet on Sunday, Bajwa reiterated the army’s resolve to remain apolitical and – in an apparent reference to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party – said that a campaign had been launched against the armed forces because it refused to intervene in politics.
“Despite some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives, the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast,” the outgoing army chief said in the interview, as Arab News reported.
“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.”
The army has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 75-year history either through coups or as an invisible guiding hand in politics.
About General Qamar Javed Bajwa
General Qamar Javed Bajwa born 11 November 1960) is a Pakistani army general and the sixteenth and current Chief of the Army Staff of Pakistan Army since 29 November 2016.
Bajwa was scheduled to retire on 29 November 2022 following the final day of his second three-year term as army chief.
In 2018 he was ranked 68th in the Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful People.
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Bajwa was appointed the army chief by Nawaz Sharif’s government in 2016 and was originally scheduled to retire in 2019. However, Khan as prime minister granted him a three-year extension that year.
In April this year, the military’s media wing said the army chief will not be seeking an extension of his tenure nor will he accept one, if offered.
Bajwa himself said last month during an event in Islamabad that he will be retiring in the “next five weeks”.
Pakistan’s army has directly ruled the country for more than half of its 75-year existence as an independent nation. It is considered the primary powerbroker in a country of 220 million people.