ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa on Friday called for national coherence and rule of law as he confirmed that he would be bidding a farewell to arms in a few weeks.

Speaking at the National Security Workshop at National Defence Univer­sity, Gen Bajwa said he would be retiring in about five weeks’ time.

During a visit to Wash­ington earlier this month, Gen Bajwa had announced that he would step down at the end of November.

In a reference to the political turmoil in the country, Gen Bajwa told participants of the workshop that the army had decided to remain apolitical. In recent months, the army has continued to face the allegations of political interference despite pled­ges by its leadership that it would stay out of politics.

In his remarks, Gen Bajwa also highlighted the need for “national cohesion and unified response” for protecting and promoting national interest and ensuring progress.

He recalled the military’s successes against terrorism. Operation Raddul Fasaad was launched in February 2017, months after Gen Bajwa assumed command, to sustain the progress achieved through successive counter-terrorism operations. Terrorism incidents sharply decreased afterwards.

The outgoing chief said that peace and stability can only be achieved if rule of law and state’s writ is established.

However, lately a resurgence is being witnessed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and over 400 people, mostly security personnel, have lost their lives in terrorist attacks this year.

Read: Why and how is the TTP resurfacing in Swat?

Succession

Gen Bajwa will be retiring by the end of November after commanding the army for six years. He was appointed army chief in 2016 for a three-year tenure, which was extended by three years in after parliament legislated on the tenures of services chiefs on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The legislation had fixed 64 years as the retirement age for services chiefs. Gen Bajwa is 61 years old and can technically stay on for another term, if the government agrees to it. This possibility has led to endless speculation that he may continue in the position.

It is expected that the process for the selection of his successor would begin by next week. Influential quarters within the government have advised the prime minister to expedite the appointment process as they suspect that unrest in the country was linked to the upcoming change in command, according to a member of the federal cabinet.

As per the process, General Headquarters would route a panel of the five senior most lieutenant generals through defence ministry to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for appointing the next army chief.

According to Article 243 (3) of the Constitution, the president would appoint the services chiefs on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Besides the appointment of the COAS, the position of chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will also fall vacant on Nov 27. All eyes, however, are on who would be the next army chief because of the history of this office overshadowing political landscape.

The senior most generals, who could possibly be considered for elevation, are Lt Gen Asim Munir (currently Quarter Master General), Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza (Commander, 10 Corps), Lt Gen Azhar Abbas (Chief of General Staff), Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood (President, NDU), Lt Gen Faiz Hamid (Commander, Bahawalpur Corps), and Lt Gen Mohammad Amir (Commander, Gujranwala Corps).

Published in Dawn, October 22th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

More pledges
Updated 25 May, 2024

More pledges

There needs to be continuity in economic policies, while development must be focused on bringing prosperity to the masses.
Pemra overreach
25 May, 2024

Pemra overreach

IT seems, at best, a misguided measure and, at worst, an attempt to abuse regulatory power to silence the media. A...
Enduring threat
25 May, 2024

Enduring threat

THE death this week of journalist Nasrullah Gadani, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by gunmen, is yet...
IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...