Change your plans, Imran Khan, Gen Bajwa has given you a shut-up call
I will retire on completing my term, says Army Chief
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As is proverbially said “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail all over again toward your other coveted goals,” you must give up your wish to appoint the next Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) either by you or with your consultation. As far as this controversial issue is concerned, you are standing alone today after Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa announced during his current official trip to the United States saying: “I will retire on completing my current term”.
With this announcement of the COAS, the unrest in the ranks and files of the Pakistan Army would be put to rest paving the way for much-needed political stability in the country. Not only this, it would be possible to set the direction of the ailing national economy avoiding the much-trumpeted narrative of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan that Pakistan was at the brink of default and that circumstances would soon be like Sri Lanka.
This issue which has to be settled through constitutional provisions and in line with the decades-old tradition was made controversial and sensitive by your assertions while addressing public rallies after having been thrown out of power through a Vote of No Confidence. You were demanding the holding of early general elections and deferring the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff by allowing further extension to Gen Bajwa. You remained deaf and dumb to the three media briefings held by Gen Babar Iftikhar, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) making it categorically clear that Gen Bajwa is not interested in any more extension and that he would retire by not a moment longer than the due date.
The statement of Gen Bajwa in the US is being reproduced here for the benefit of our readers and viewers. “I will retire on completing my terms”. His statement has settled the dust for once and all, making it clear that the Armed Forces had distanced themselves from politics and they wanted to remain so in the future. Reiterating his promise to leave his post after completing his second three-year term in two months, the Army Chief said he would fulfil his promise made earlier.
Following this categorical assertion of the COAS, the Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has announced that the process of appointing the new Army Chief would start by the end of the current month. Interacting with media persons, he said that five senior officers have already been shortlisted for the appointment of the new Army Chief saying that the new COAS could be chosen from any of those officers.
“All names of the generals are sent by the General Headquarters (GHQ), and all these names are thoroughly reviewed,” he said and added “It can be inferred from Imran Khan’s recent speeches that the institutions have become neutral. Our institutions, army, judiciary, parliament and media are working according to the Constitution,” he added. “Institutions are working in the light of the Constitution which is not acceptable to Imran Khan. He is turning mad for November. The month of November will also pass peacefully,” he claimed.
It must be mentioned here that there have been three military interventions in the past resulting in the imposition of Martial Law leading to the arrest of leading political leaders and their persecution. But at no stage did the political victims indulge in calling names to the serving generals.
No one could even think of trying to create either rift or attempting to divide the ranks and files of the Armed forces. Imran Khan started doing so when the Army Chief decided to transfer the then Director General of the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) which was an act within his discretion as well as his jurisdiction. The PTI chief who was holding the position of the Prime Minister objected to it on flimsy grounds. This led to a sort of tussle between the sitting government and the GHQ which is continuing till the writing of this analysis but is likely to come to its logical end in the coming weeks.
The situation became worse when PTI leaders like Fawad Chaudhry, Shibli Faraz, Faisal Vowda, and one seat-holder in the National Assembly Sheikh Rashid started offering arguments that it was the prerogative of the Prime Minister to make changes in the senior cadre of the Armed Forces. Such statements were like adding fuel to the fire high inflaming the rift among the PTI and the Army Chief.
Once out of power, Imran Khan forgot all the favours done by the Establishment that led him to the corridors of power and settled him in the saddle of the most coveted post of the Prime Minister. Needless to mention all those acts including the manoeuvring and delaying of the election results by not providing copies of Form 45 to the polling agents of respective political parties etc.
Once the new Chief of the Army Staff is appointed and the raising of fingers toward the sitting generals comes to a halt, the situation for the PTI would be entirely different. The PTI has already started feeling it with the PDM Government’s decision to deploy army contingents to protect the Red Zone in particular and the capital city in general.
Similarly, the government would not listen to the PTI's demand of holding general elections before they are scheduled to be held in November 2023. The Scenario is going to be changed altogether Mr Imran Khan.