Army chief holds rare same-day talks with President Alvi, PM Imran

Published February 15, 2022
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Monday. — PID
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Monday. — PID

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa on Monday met President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran.

Although the army chief’s meeting with the prime minister took place on the sidelines of the apex committee on Afghanistan’s session, it is rare for an army chief to meet both heads of the state and the government on the same day.

The brevity of a statement on Khan-Bajwa meeting issued by the PM Office added to the curiosity of political observers about what could have been possibly discussed between them.

Imran calls for fast-tracking aid projects announced for Afghans

All that the PMO had to say about the meeting was “Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan today. Professional matters pertaining to Pakistan Army were discussed during the meeting”.

Press statements on the meetings between the prime minister and army chief have been typically pro forma since their public disagreement over the appointment of Inter-Services Intelligence director general. There have been just two publicly disclosed meetings between the two since Oct 26, the day Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum was notified as the new director general, though they have been together at forums attended by other functionaries as well.

The presidency’s statement gave a little more insight into the meeting between President Alvi and Gen Bajwa, suggesting that they had a focused discussion on the recent terrorism incidents in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Gen Bajwa “briefed the President about the professional preparedness and measures being taken by the security forces against the terrorist elements,” the presidency stated, adding that the army chief reiterated the resolve “to eliminate militants and miscreants from the country”.

President Alvi, meanwhile, paid rich tribute to the security forces personnel martyred in the recent operations against militants in Balochistan and newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Apex committee on Afghanistan

PM Khan, while chairing the apex committee meeting, expressed the hope that Afghan students studying in Pakistani universities would help in development of Afghanistan, besides strengthening people-to-people contacts between the neighbouring countries. He also ordered the continuation of scholarships and provision of all necessary resources for the purpose.

Regarding bilateral trade, the premier said the government accorded top priority to business-to-business relationships and communication projects and would provide full facilitation.

He called for fast-tracking the aid projects and commitments announced for Afghan people and said the hospitals built in Afghanistan by Pakistan government would be supported in addition to expanding road and rail connectivity.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2022

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