Ratification of Gen Bajwa’s extension brings rumour mills to halt | Pakistan Today

Ratification of Gen Bajwa’s extension brings rumour mills to halt

ISLAMABAD: The official ratification of the decision of a three-year extension in service of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and elevation of General Nadeem Raza as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee has brought the rumour mills active in the federal capital to a halt, at least for the time being.

However, as most of the commentators are raising hale and hearty slogans in appeasement to the army chief, there are a few critics who view the extension to the chief as a negative tradition.

Political pundits also allege that the sit-in by Maulana Fazlur Rehman had something to do with the latest developments.

Some commentators dub the sit-in as an arm-twisting tactic to build pressure on the prime minister to grant safe passage to former premier Nawaz Sharif, while others think it was an entirely different story.

Moreover, story-tellers also indicate towards the body language of the prime minister in two consecutive meetings with army chief in a week’s time and another meeting with DG of the ISI.

Noted defence analyst General (r) Amjad Shoaib says that General Bajwa was reluctant to accept the extension and was ready to pack his bags, but the friendly countries had played a key role in convincing the prime minister and the army chief to continue with the job.

“During the recent visits to friendly countries, prime minister and army chief were convinced to continue with the military chief who has played a key role in improvement of relations with the friendly countries,” he said.

The veteran officer said that not only Gen Bajwa had played a pivotal role in revival of cordial ties between the US and Pakistan, the general was also instrumental in warming up to the key gulf players, like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Iran.

“Pakistan’s gulf policy has literally been rewritten by Gen Bajwa. Moreover, the general has also played a linchpin role in developing peace overture between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Keeping in view the progress in the Afghan peace process, the need to improve relations with the US, Middle East unrest and internationalization of the Kashmir issue, the government felt the necessity of granting 3 years extension to Gen Bajwa.

Amjad Shoaib further said that the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir and India’s failure at the United Nations was also an important factor for the prime minister to carry forward the military command.

Asked whether or not the promotions in army’s top brass would be affected due to the extension to Gen Bajwa, Amjad Shoaib claimed that “no army officer would be affected by the decision”.

However, rights activist and PPP’s senior leader Senator Farhatullah Babar thinks the decision would badly affect the morale of the senior army officers.

Babar said that the decision to give a three-year extension to the army chief was an unwise decision. The tradition of giving extensions to the serving army chief is unhealthy as it hinders the promotion of senior officers to command the institutions.

“No one is indispensable and any individual’s indispensability is not helpful to the morale of the senior officers of the force,” he added.

Asked if the extension to Gen Bajwa was not a healthy sign, why the PPP government had granted an extension to the then army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Babar said that the decision by his own party’s government was also not right.

“One may wish that extension had not been given (by PPP government),” he said, adding two wrongs don’t make a right.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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