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Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed BajwaThe Army played a crucial role in the election of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was therefore indebted to the Army leadership.

In a rare case, on 25 November 2019 the Supreme Court suspended the notification for General Bajwa’s extension of three years as army chief. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said “The entire process was upside down. First the cabinet should have given the approval, then the prime minister and president should have been advised”. The top court sent notification to the concerned parties involved in the matter. Khosa remarked that the Constitution doesn’t allow re-appointment or extension in the service of the army chief. Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a self-deployment notification on August 19, stating that the Army Chief’s term was extended. The Supreme Court had started showing its supremacy even in cases involving the powerful top army chief.

Bajwa is due to retire on 29 November 2019. Bawja’s extension marked the second time in a decade that the country’s top general had their traditional three-year term extended. General Kayani, who preceded General Sharif, also had his term extended. Prime Minister Imran Khan said 22 November 2019 he had decided to grant an extension to Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa within three months of forming government 18 August 2019.

Chief Justice (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa, during a 25 November 2019 hearing on the withdrawal application of a petition challenging the extension of Gen Bajwa's tenure, said that only president Arif Alvi can extend the tenure of the army chief. The top judge rejected the application and took up the petition in public interest under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, turning the petition into a suo motu notice. “The prime minister does not have the power to extend the tenure of the army chief,” the chief justice remarked. To this, the attorney general told the court, “Army chief's tenure was extended after the president's approval.” “If the president approved the summary on August 19, then why did the prime minister gave the approval for the summary again on August 21,” CJP Khosa questioned.

The federal cabinet on 26 November 2019 signed a new summary for the extension in the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa for another three years. The summary was signed after PM Imran Khan presided over an emergency meeting to discuss the issue regarding the extension in the tenure of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa after the Supreme Court suspended the notification of his extension. There are 25 members of the Cabinet and out of those 25 members only 11 had agreed to the proposal.

Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem resigned from his position. Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed said Naseem had resigned because he would represent Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in the Supreme Court. He would be accompanied at the court by the attorney general of Pakistan. Railway Minister said the cabinet hailed the contributions of Farogh Naseem as Law Minister. Naseem belongs to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a coalition partner of the ruling PTI.

Imran Khan’s parliamentary majority in the election in 2018 came with the blessing of the army. The This victory knocked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz from power. Sharif advocated civilian as opposed to military supremacy and is now jailed after conviction on corruption charges that he denies. Opposition protesters alleged the July 25 elections that gave victory to Imran Khan's Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) party were rigged by the military, which critics say holds substantial sway over the country's domestic and international policies and has regularly censored potentially negative press coverage.

On 19 August 2019 Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a three year extension in the tenure of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. The announcement came three months before Gen Bajwa was due to retire. "General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure," read the brief notification issued by the prime minister's office. It added that "The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment." The notification was personally signed by Prime Minister Imran.

Gen Bajwa was appointed as the chief of army staff by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016. General Bajwa has vast experience in the field, especially in crucial areas such as Baltistan and Kashmir. Prior to be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army, he served field commander of the X Corps from 2013 to 2015 which is responsible for the area along the Line of Control. His approach towards Pakistan’s arch rivals and neighbors India remains passive yet firm which makes him a composed General ready to act with a clear mind rather than being impulsive. He has remained professional and away from politics throughout his term in the army which also adds to his qualities as a true military leader.

In the first few months of 2018, the televised news media widely reports described his leadership vision as "The Bajwa Doctrine" (TBD). Media reports and pundits said that The Bajwa Doctrine was at play behind the blackout of Geo TV which started on 01 April 2018.

In March 2018 Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa held an off-the-record briefing with a group of journalists in Rawalpindi that was widely reported. Bajwa described Geo TV as "subversive" and warned the channel that it would face consequences for crossing "red lines" by challenging the military. The military has rejected this account of events. "The military doesn’t want any channel to report about anything that is against [its] interests, certainly not in its ongoing political battle," says Ayesha Siddiqa, a Pakistani military analyst and author. "Geo TV is one of the few Pakistani media outlets that are ready to provide an alternative perspective." Gen. Bajwa threatened the management of the Geo TV with consequences if it did not toe the line of military.

Geo TV and the military have been at odds since 2014, when Geo TV anchor and journalist Hamid Mir was shot in the port city of Karachi. Mir accused the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of ordering the assassination attempt. Geo TV publicly backed Mir’s claims, while the military denied any involvement. More recently, Geo TV refused to follow the military's line on the corruption case against ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif blamed "hidden hands" for his ousting, an apparent reference to the military.

In 2010 the 18th amendment to the Constitution decentralized power in Pakistan and brought about a parliamentary system, reversing many changes made by military rulers to the constitution over the last few decades. The military wants to roll back the constitutional amendment because it is affecting the establishment’s ability to manipulate policy and its control on resources. Bajwa, in his off-the-record briefing with journalists, was quoted widely as saying that the 18th amendment was "more dangerous than Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s six points." Rehman, the founding father of Bangladesh, proclaimed his six points demanding greater autonomy five years before the Bengali war of independence erupted.

It is believed that Bawja's generally pro-democracy [with Pakistani characteristics] track record and views played a key role in his appointment for the COAS slot. It has been rumored and reported that General Bajwa stays neutral in relation to the issue of India and he has considered religious extremism a more direct and important threat to the security and safety of Pakistan as compared to the threat from the border.

His extension marked the second time in nearly a decade that the country's top general had their traditional three-year term extended. The first time was in 2010 when the then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, after consultations with then President Asif Ali Zardari, granted an extension of three years to the Chief of Army Staff at the time, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, appointed his new military chief 26 November 2016 to replace Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif (no relation to Prime Minister Sharif), who was due to retire on November 29 when his official three-year term ended. The new chief, Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa, took charge of the world’s sixth largest military in a formal handover ceremony in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistan army is headquartered. General Bajwa’s appointment came at a time when Pakistan’s military tensions with neighboring India are running high over Kashmir.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa was commissioned in 16 Baloch Regiment on 24 October 1980. He is graduate of Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, (Toronto) Canada, Naval Post Graduate University, Monteray( California) USA, National Defence Univesity, Islamabd. He has been an instructor at School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta, Command and Staff College, Quetta and NDU. He has also been Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade and Chief of Staff of Rawalpindi Corps.

He has commanded 16 Baloch Regiment, an Infantry Brigade and has commanded Infantry Division in Northern Areas ( Commander FCNA). He has also commanded Pakistan Contingent in Congo. General Bajwa, among other key assignments, had commanded the army’s largest ’10 Corp’, which is also responsible for the area along the Kashmir LoC. The tensions with India appeared to have played a role in Bajwa’s appointment because of his “extensive involvement with Kashmir affairs”. The newly-appointed military chief is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College (Toronto), California’s Naval Post Graduate University in Monetary, and has commanded the Pakistan Contingent in Congo.



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Page last modified: 27-11-2019 16:11:40 ZULU