1. Pakistan names General Qamar Bajwa as new army chief

Pakistan names General Qamar Bajwa as new army chief

As per local media reports, his name has been finalised by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: November 26, 2016 7:38 PM
Lt Gen Qamar Bajwa is from the Pakistan Military Academy’s 62nd long course. (Video grab) Lt Gen Qamar Bajwa is from the Pakistan Military Academy’s 62nd long course. (Source: Dawn News)

Pakistan today appointed General Qamar Javed Bajwa as its new army chief. As per local media reports of the country his name was finalised by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today. As per Geo News report, General Zubair Hayat has been appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Before his present appointment, General Hayat was serving as chief of general staff (CGS).

Bajwa will take charge of the world’s sixth-largest army by troop numbers in a formal handover on Tuesday, when General Raheel formally retires. Raheel in January had declared he would not seek extension. “I will retire on the due date,” he had said. There were speculation that the PML-N government would give him extension at the eleventh hour citing reasons that he was needed by the country to lead war on terror. The post of Army chief is the most powerful in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif has confirmed that Bajwa was appointed as COAS and Zubair Hayat as Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC). “May God help us in these decisions and new appointments,” he said.

Lt Gen Qamar Bajwa is from the Pakistan Military Academy’s 62nd long course. Earlier he was the commander of Rawalpindi Corps and is currently the Inspector General of Training and Evaluation at the headquarters, a position his predecessor Gen Raheel Sharif had held before taking up the top job in Pakistan’s army .

As a major general, he led the Force Command Northern reas. He also served in the 10 Corps as lieutenant colonel. He also served with a UN mission in Congo as a brigade commander alongside former Indian army chief Gen Bikram Singh, who was also there as a division commander. Previously, he also remained the commandant of theInfantry School in Quetta.

The new army chief has wide experience of LoC affairs due to his extensive involvement with PoK and northern areas, reports said here. His military colleagues say he is not attention-seeking and remains well-connected with his troops. The new army chief is from the infantry`s Baloch Regiment, which has given three officers to the post of army chief Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Ashfaq Perviaz Kayani.

Sharif appointed Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Zubair Hayat as CJCSC by elevating him to the position of four-star general. He is the senior most serving army officer. Hayat is from the artillery. As a three-star general, he was previously posted as director general of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) and corps commander Bahawalpur. The most obvious man dropped while making the two key appointments by Prime Minister Sharif is Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed who was serving Multan Corps Commander.

Another officer left out is Bahawalpur Corps Commander Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday. There were two other senior officers overlooked, including Heavy Industrial Complex Taxila Chairman Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain and Director General Joint Staff Lt Gen Najibullah Khan. Another Lt Gen Maqsood Ahmed serving as military adviser with the United Nations is already on an extension and WAS not eligible for promotion.

It is the record fifth time Sharif appointed an army chief as Prime Minister. If his botched attempt to replace Gen Pervez Musharraf with Ziauddin Butt in 1999 is also counted, this will be the sixth time Sharif appointed head of army. His earlier picks were Gen Asif Nawaz Janjua (1991), Gen Waheed Kakar (1993), Gen Musharraf (1998) and Gen Raheel Sharif (2013). Of the seven army chiefs after Gen Zia, five were handpicked by Sharif.

After Gen Musharraf, all four-star generals in the army — Gen Tariq Majid, Gen Khalid Shamim Wynne, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Gen Rashad Mehmood and Gen Raheel Sharif — were from the infantry.
Gen Musharraf was the last four-star general from the artillery.

The ties between India and Pakistan have deteriorated after the Uri attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed. India followed it up with surgical strikes in terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Almost on daily basis Pakistan is violating ceasefire across LoC, which the Indian forces are also giving proper reply.

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