General Qamar Javed Bajwa today formally assumed office after being appointed as Pakistan’s new army chief and is likely to review the ongoing counterterrorism operations, according to media reports. General Bajwa, 57, took over the command of the army yesterday at a ceremony in Rawalpindi from General Raheel Sharif.
Gen Bajwa has taken over the command of the army at a time when security situation on the LoC has deteriorated due to ongoing Indo-Pak tension, which needs his immediate attention and the Pakistani troops are consolidating the gains made during the counterterrorism operations in the restive areas.
Apart from external security situation, he faces a huge challenge of taking military operation against militants to logical conclusion.
“He would, therefore, be defining the direction of the new phase, which may be distinctly different from the previous stage that saw kinetic operations,” the Dawn said.
Despite efforts by his predecessor General Raheel, terrorism remains a huge threat for Pakistan. It is believed that General Bajwa would have to review the operation in order to fine tune them according to his vision.
Similarly, the relations with India would be in sharp focus as tension on the LoC would divert focus from the fight against militancy, according to experts.
In his brief informal interaction with journalists after the passage of command yesterday, General Bajwa expressed the hope that the situation at the LoC would soon improve.
Gen Bajwa’s appointment and assumption of charge is historical event as it is for the first time in 20 years that the transition from one army chief to another took place on time.
Earlier, Pervez Musharraf remained army chief from 1998 to 2007 and his successor Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani served for two terms from 2007 to 2013.
The COAS appointment is for three years, which can be extended. But apart from military dictators, it is rare that an extension is given.