ISLAMABAD: Army chief-designate General Qamar Javed Bajwa will formally take charge today (Tuesday) of his new assignment, considered the most powerful and challenging in Pakistan at a time when the country is battling militancy and dealing with an increasingly aggressive India.
The outgoing army chief, General Raheel Sharif, will hand over the baton to Gen Bajwa at a formal change of command ceremony at the GHQ, completing the transition after months of speculation as to who will be his successor.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday picked Gen Bajwa for the coveted slot while also appointing Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), who formally took over on Monday at a ceremony held at the Joint Staff Headquarters, Chaklala, in Rawalpindi.
Also on Monday, the outgoing chief had a busy last day in his office. He paid a farewell call on Premier Sharif as well as President Mamnoon Hussain. He also visited the ISI headquarters and later chaired a last corps commanders meeting at the GHQ.
His farewell corps commanders meeting was also attended by the incoming army chief as well as other senior commanders.
The ISPR said that during the meeting, the corps commanders paid rich tributes to Gen Raheel Sharif for his “leadership and professional acumen and lauded his services for the country”.
Gen Raheel congratulated the chief of army staff-designate for his elevation to the rank of Gen and appointment as COAS.
Gen Raheel Sharif said it was a matter of great pride for him to have commanded the most battle hardened army in the world for three years.
He appreciated the corps commanders for their cooperation during his tenure and said the successes achieved during his tenure would not have been possible without contribution by each one of them.
Gen Raheel was the first army chief in last two decades who retired on time and that too with dignity.
In his three-year tenure, he was credited with initiating a decisive push against the militant outfits. The army, under his command, for the first time ventured into the North Waziristan Agency, once considered a hotbed of local and foreign militant groups.
He also ordered an all-out operation against the criminals, including target killers as well as political elements thought to be behind creating unrest in the port city of Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2016.
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