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Experience In Kashmir, Pro-Democratic Credentials Helped Gen Bajwa Bag Pakistan's Top Army Post

Bajwa prefers to keep a low profile and shun the spotlight.

28/11/2016 9:21 AM IST | Updated 28/11/2016 11:23 AM IST
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Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa has been named as the next Pakistan Army chief. Bajwa, an infantry officer, has commanded the famed 10 Corps, the Pakistani army's largest, which is responsible for guarding the area along the Line of Control (LoC) with India.

According to the Hindustan Times analysts believe that Bajwa was chosen because of his experience in operations in the Kashmir corridor. Bajwa is also experienced in counter-terrorism.

With his elevation as the army chief, Gen Bajwa has superseded Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain (chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila), Lt Gen Najibullah Khan (DG Joint Staff Headquarters), Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed (Corps Commander Multan) and Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday (Corps Commander Bahawalpur).

The Hindustan Times also reports that Bajwa has been the commander of the elite Rawalpindi-based X Corps that controls operations along the LoC in Kashmir.

The Times of India quoted a senior army official as saying, "Gen Bajwa is well-versed with the complexities, nature of operations and terrain along the LoC. He has also handled Kashmir extensively during his career. But it's actually too premature to say anything. Both Generals Pervez Musharraf and Kayani proved different from what their initial assessments were."

PTI reports that the media and experts in Pakistan attribute Bajwa's appointment by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his "pro-democracy credentials" and the fact that he kept a low profile.

"A careful review of General Bajwa's profile clearly reflects that his pro-democracy credentials earned him the post of Chief of Army Staff," Pakistani newspaper the News commented, a day after Sharif appointed Gen Bajwa to succeed Gen Raheel Sharif.

PTI also quoted the Dawn as saying, "Gen Bajwa's relatively more moderate view of the relationship with the civilian government, it is said, proved to be the decisive factor in Prime Minister Sharif's decision."

The Dawn also said that Sharif named the new military command, appointing Gen Bajwa and Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), respectively, in the hope of stabilising the fragile civil-military balance.

While the office of CJCSC is technically the more senior position — as he serves as the principal military adviser to the prime minister and the National Command Authority (NCA) — the office of army chief is the most prized and arguably the most powerful position in the country, the paper said.

On a personal level, Gen Bajwa is said to be witty, accessible, well-connected with the troops and not fond of the limelight.

(With PTI inputs)

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