Islamabad, Nov 30: Pakistan’s new army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa today vowed to safeguard the country against external and internal threats, including terrorism, as he formally assumed office following his appointment.
General Bajwa, 57, took over the command of the army yesterday at a ceremony in Rawalpindi from General Raheel Sharif.
On first day of his office, he visited former Taliban stronghold in North Waziristan. Military spokesman Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said that in North Waziristan, the army chief said, “The war against terrorism will continue with focused approach and it will be taken to its logical conclusion till total elimination of terrorism from our soil.”
Earlier, he visited Corps Headquarters Peshawar, where he was given detailed briefing about the prevailing security situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal region of the country.
“No terrorists of any hue will ever be allowed to come back,” he said. The army chief said that his ultimate objective was the safeguard the country “against external and internal threats”.
He was also briefed about the situation at the border with Afghanistan where additional border troops are being deployed to enhance the security.
General Bajwa’s visit to the western border with Afghanistan instead of eastern border with India on the very first day might be indicative of his priorities. Unlike his predecessor who in his last speech yesterday threatened India, the new army chief in his first interaction with media on same day sent a positive signal by saying that the Line of Control will soon become normal.
General Bajwa has taken over the command of the army at a time when security situation on the LoC has deteriorated due to ongoing Indo-Pak tension. Apart from external security situation, he faces a huge challenge of taking military operation against militants to logical conclusion.
“He would, therefore, be defining the direction of the new phase, which may be distinctly different from the previous stage that saw kinetic operations,” the Dawn said.
Despite efforts by his predecessor General Raheel, terrorism remains a huge threat for Pakistan. It is believed that General Bajwa would have to review the operation in order to fine tune them according to his vision. Similarly, the relations with India would be in sharp focus as tension on the LoC would divert focus from the fight against militancy, according to experts.
In his brief informal interaction with journalists after the passage of command yesterday, General Bajwa expressed the hope that the situation at the LoC would soon improve. Gen Bajwa’s appointment and assumption of charge is historical event as it is for the first time in 20 years that the transition from one army chief to another took place on time.
Earlier, Pervez Musharraf remained army chief from 1998 to 2007 and his successor Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani served for two terms from 2007 to 2013. The COAS appointment is for three years, which can be extended. But apart from military dictators, it is rare that an extension is given.