December 14, 2016 8:43:28 pm
Pakistan’s newly appointed army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is quickly moving to tighten his grip over the country’s powerful institution by appointing his close aides to key positions, a media report said. General Bajwa, 57, is “quickly moving to stamp his own identity on the Pakistan Army by carrying out a major reshuffle days after taking over from Gen Raheel Sharif,” The News International said.
“The most significant change was the replacement of ISI chief Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar by Lt-Gen Naveed Mukhtar,” it said, adding among other key transfers is that of Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa, who has been moved from ISPR and will now be the Arms IG. The paper pointed out that there are also new corps commanders in Bahawalpur and Peshawar and the DG Rangers, Lt-Gen Bilal Akbar, has been appointed chief of general staff.
The ISI DG and the chief of general staff – the two most important positions in the army after the army chief – have been filled by men who were serving in Karachi. Both the officers worked together in Karachi and so should find it easier to cooperate with each other in Rawalpindi, the paper said.
“All these transfers show that Gen Qamar Bajwa is keen to mould the army in his own image,” it said. “The army chief himself is considered to be easygoing and quick with a one-liner but the speed with which he has moved shows that he will be a man of action,” it added.
Noting that Mukhtar was previously heading the counter- terrorism wing of ISI, the paper said his appointment as the spy agency chief “signals that India and Afghanistan will be a priority of the new army chief.” While studying at the US Army War College five years ago, Mukhtar wrote a paper on Pakistan’s policy in Afghanistan and recommended reconciliation with “moderate” Taliban, it added.
“Mukhtar’s warning in his paper that Pakistan would need to guard against India using Afghanistan as a proxy also seems to be coming to pass,” it added.
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