Pakistan Army: Pakistan’s Defense Ministry on Monday sent a list of five names to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for the next army chief. The current Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa will retire on 29 November. Under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952, the Defense Ministry will issue a discharge summary to the current army chief to pave the way for the appointment of his successor.
General Bajwa (61) is retiring on November 29 after three years of service extension. He has refused to take another service extension. ‘The Express Tribune’ newspaper has reported quoting sources that the PMO has received the Defense Ministry’s report on Monday regarding the appointment of the new army chief.
Why is the army chief important for Pakistan?
According to the news, there are names of five top generals in the report. The paper said that the PMO has not confirmed receipt of the report from the Defense Ministry. The new army chief will take over on November 29 and Bajwa will retire on the same day after a tenure of six years. There is a lot of interest in the appointment of Bajwa’s successor. Many people believe that the long rally of former Prime Minister Imran Khan is related to the change of leadership in the army. Khan has asked his supporters to gather in Rawalpindi on 26 November. This is the date three before Bajwa’s retirement.
Who are the claimants?
A senior government official on Sunday dismissed any speculation about a standoff between the army and the government over the crucial appointment. As per the seniority list, Lt Gen Asim Munir, Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt Gen Azhar Abbas, Lt Gen Noman Mehmood and Lt Gen Faiz Hameed are contenders for the post of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Army Staff.
The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, had last week confirmed that General Bajwa would retire on November 29. Since then, the discussion is going on regarding the appointment of the new army chief. A PMO source told Dawn newspaper that the Defense Ministry will start the process of appointing the new army chief before November 27.
What is political angle?
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently went on a private visit to London where his elder brother and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is currently living. He has consulted Nawaz Sharif on this issue and on his return held talks with all the alliance partners.
The role of President Arif Alvi has become crucial in the appointment process, as some media reports have claimed that he may withhold the notification for 25 days. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday advised President Alvi not to create any disturbance in the appointment of the army chief.
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