Pak Army Chief Bajwa to retire after 5 weeks, not to seek extension

Rawalpindi [Pakistan], Oct 21: Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday said that he will not take an extension and retire after five weeks, reports Pakistan’s Geo News.
The COAS, according to the sources, said that the army will not play any role in politics.
Notably, Bajwa is set to retire on November 29 this year and all eyes are focused on the appointment of the new army chief.
Earlier, Bajwa assured the nation that the armed forces have distanced themselves from politics and want to stay away from it in the future as well. He was given a three-year extension on November 29, 2019.
While addressing the gathering during the lunch at Pakistani Embassy in Washington, Bajwa said that he will leave after the completion of his second three-year term in two months, Dawn reported.
There was speculation that he may get a second extension after a reported meeting between Bajwa and PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif in London.
Post the Bajwa-Sharif meeting, the current discussion on possible successors to Bajwa in November could take a new turn. The possible successors are – Corps Commander Rawalpindi Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt Gen Azhar Abbas, Lt Gen Nauman Mahmood Raja, and Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.
It must be noted that the three officers who are likely to remain in the queue would be Corps Commander Gujranwala Muhammad Amir and Corps Commander Multan Lt Gen Chiragh Haider and ISI DG Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum Sheikh.
Moreover, the recent promotion of 12 major generals has set the stage for a major reshuffle in Pakistan’s top military brass.
The latest promotion was seen as one of the more consequential decisions by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa ahead of his retirement as the 12 promoted officers would form a major chunk of the team that the new chief would inherit in November.
It was rare to see such a big number of promotions to the rank of lieutenant general at one time. The promotions in the army had been overdue for almost a year though these elevations are normally said to be based on vacancies.
The 12 newly-promoted generals would be taking up the positions vacated due to the retirement of three lieutenant generals in mid-October 2021, one in July this year and five at the end of September, reported Dawn.
Two more generals were promoted in anticipation of the promotion of two lieutenant generals to fill the impending four-star vacancies due to the upcoming retirement of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Promotions at this level in the army are the sole prerogative of the COAS. But traditionally the chiefs hold informal consultations with other senior generals while taking these decisions, reported Dawn.
Among the newly-promoted officers, a few of them had worked closely with Gen Bajwa. These officers are Vice Chief of General Staff-A Gen Nauman Zikriya, DG ISPR Gen Babar Iftikhar, and DG Perspective Planning Cell Gen Ayman Bilal Safdar.
Nearly 20 major generals were superseded in this exercise, but there weren’t many big surprises, barring a couple or so, reported Dawn.
All eyes would now be on the posting of the promoted officers, which would be done soon by GHQ. Several important positions are currently lying vacant, reported Dawn.
Shortly after his appointment in 2016, Gen Bajwa got an opportunity to promote seven major generals, which helped him set up his own team.
The seven positions had on that occasion fallen vacant due to the promotion of two officers to four-star ranks, while four others quit after being superseded. (Agencies)