WASHINGTON: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assured the nation on Tuesday that the armed forces have distanced themselves from politics and want to remain so.

The army chief also reiterated his pledge to leave after the completion of his second three-year term in two months, saying that he would do as he promised earlier. He made these remarks at a lunch at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.

According to the people who attended, Gen Bajwa addressed the gathering before the lunch and then also made informal remarks while talking to his guests. He reminded the nation that reviving the country’s ailing economy should be the first priority of all segments of society, adding that without a strong economy the nation would not be able to achieve its targets.

Read: Pakistan’s hybrid regime is coming to an end. What next?

“There could be no diplomacy either without a strong economy,” said the army chief in his address to an audience which included a large number of Pakistani diplomats.

After the lunch, Gen Bajwa went to the Pentagon for a meeting with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

According to the ISPR, Gen Bajwa called on retired General Lloyd James Austin III, Secretary of Defence; Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan, National Security Adviser; and Wendy Ruth Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State.

During the meetings, matters of mutual of interest, regional security situation and bilateral cooperation in various fields were discussed.

The army chief thanked the US officials for their support and reiterated that assistance from “our global partners shall be vital for rescue/rehabilitation of the flood victims in Pakistan”.

Meanwhile, it was incorrectly reported in local media on Tuesday that the DGI, CGS and DGMO are also accompanying COAS during his current visit to the US.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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