The army on Thursday put to rest all speculations of yet another extension for the incumbent chief, as its official media wing confirmed that General Qamar Javed Bajwa has kicked off farewell visits.
"General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Sialkot and Mangla garrisons as part of his farewell visits to various formations," read a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Despite the chief military spokesperson having already confirmed that General Bajwa will not be seeking another extension, speculations regarding the incumbent chief staying on were rife in recent weeks.
There were rumours that General Bajwa will be given a short extension, while vice chief of army staff will be appointed.
However, the ISPR’s latest statement made it abundantly clear that the incumbent COAS will formally take off his uniform on November 29.
This will end his six-year tenure, during which Pakistan saw many developments, both on the internal and external fronts.
With the army officially confirming General Bajwa’s retirement date, all eyes are now on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif concerning his choice of officer for the coveted slot.
It is expected that a summary carrying the names of potential candidates for the top job will likely be moved about a week before General Bajwa’s retirement.
However, given past practice, the formal announcement of the new chief will likely be made closer to his retirement date. Nevertheless, some officials claim that there was a possibility of the new chief being announced sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, the ISPR said the army chief met officers and men at two garrisons and addressed the troops.
He appreciated formations for their excellent performance during various operations, training and natural calamities. The COAS advised troops to keep serving the nation with the same zeal and commitment no matter what the circumstances.
Earlier, on arrival in Sialkot, the COAS was received by Lieutenant General Muhammad Aamer and by Lieutenant General Ayman Bilal Safdar at Mangla garrison.
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