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Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, who has extensive experience of handling affairs in PoK and the northern areas, was on Saturday appointed as Pakistan’s new army chief to succeed Gen Raheel Sharif. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Bajwa as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) by elevating him to the rank of four-star general, officials said. 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. Bajwa was serving as Inspector General of the Training and Evaluation and has been elevated to position of four star general and appointed as Chief of Army Staff, the officials said. He has also commanded the famed 10 Corps, the army’s largest, which is responsible for the area along the Line of Control (LoC).
As a major general, he led the Force Command Northern Areas. 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 the Infantry 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 in Islamabad. 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.