Situation at LoC will be alright, says newly-appointed COAS Gen Bajwa

Published November 29, 2016
Newly-appointed Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. ─ Photo courtesy ISPR.
Newly-appointed Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. ─ Photo courtesy ISPR.

Newly-appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday said the situation at the Line of Control (LoC) will be "alright" in the near future.

Speaking to journalists after the change of command ceremony, General Bajwa, while answering a question regarding the situation along the LoC said, "It will be alright."

Gen Bajwa appreciated the role the media plays in nation-building and encouraged it to continue making contributions that strengthen society.

He also vowed to take the media in the loop with regards to undertaking his responsibilites, Radio Pakistan reported.

Outgoing military chief Gen Raheel Sharif today handed over the command of the army to COAS General Bajwa at a ceremony at Army Hockey Stadium near General Headquarters.

The change of command comes at a time tensions between Pakistan and India are running high following an alleged 'surgical strike', unrest in Kashmir and the Uri army base attack in September.

Since then there have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing in Kashmir, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.

Last week, at least nine people were killed and 11 others wounded when Indian troops targeted the passenger coaster in Azad Jammu and Kashmir near the LoC. A total of three soldiers and 10 civilians were killed, and 18 others injured in cross-border firing and shelling.

Who is Gen Javed Bajwa?

Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, a career infantry officer belonging to the Baloch Regiment, was chosen as Pakistan's next Chief of Army Staff and Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) on Saturday. Gen Bajwa was promoted to the rank of four-star general.

Gen Bajwa was previously posted as the Inspector General for Training and Evaluation at the General Headquarters, the same post held by Gen Raheel Sharif before he took over as army chief.

Gen Bajwa was considered as a dark horse in the race for the army’s command and has now superseded Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain (chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila), Lt Gen Najibullah Khan (DG Joint Staff Headquarters), Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed (Corps Commander Multan) and Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday (Corps Commander Bahawalpur).

The succession may not immediately bring about a major change in policies, but it could still have important implications for ties with India and Afgha­nistan, and domestically for the civil-military equation and the ongoing fight against terrorism.

The army chief is credited with having spent a considerable part of his military service in the Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps, which is responsible for guarding the Line of Control (LoC). However, his time at the 10 Corps was a period of relative quiet following the 2003 ceasefire accord.

This experience could prove invaluable as he takes command amidst serious escalation on the LoC, which saw some of the intense skirmishes since 2003.

On a personal level, Gen Bajwa is said to be witty, accessible, well-connected with the troops and not fond of the limelight.

He is the fourth officer from the infantry’s Baloch Regiment to become the army chief. Before him, Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Kayani rose to that position.

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