Change of command in Pak Army

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Dr Muhammad Khan

THERE is end of rumours after the nomination of General Qamar Javed Bajwa as the new Army Chief of the Pakistan Army. He will take over the Command of the brave Pak Army on November 29, 2016. Knowing the personality of the General Bajwa, I would say that, he is a thorough professional and a true soldier like his predecessor, General Raheel Sharif. While considering the professionalism of Pak Army, he is the best choice to lead the Brave Pak Army at this critical juncture of Pakistani history. Besides being a true and professional soldier, General Bajwa is an excellent human being. He loves a soldier and an officer equally, while maintain a direct contact. As a Corps Commander of Operationally deployed Corps, against India, a declared Pakistani adversary, he always maintained an offensive posture and kept the enemy’s head down.
As far as the policies of Pak Army are concerned, there will be continuation of the existing set of policies, since there always exist a consensus in the decision making process of Pak Army. General Raheel Sharif has earned a very good name for both himself and Pak Army during his three years of Command of prestigious Pak Army. Indeed, the professionalism and dedication of General Raheel Sharif made him the most favourite personality of Pakistan in last two years. During his able command, Pak Army achieved the best of its best. Operation Zarb-i-Azb was a classic operation, aimed to destroy the terrorist’s network and the facilities, they were using to carry out their terrorist activities throughout the country. The determination and will with which, Pak Army men and officers combated the terrorists was unrivalled and nation value that largely. There was a galaxy of terrorists in North Waziristan Agency (NWA), once Pak Army started Operation Zarb-i-Azb.
The outgoing COAS deserved the unprecedented honour and respect; he was given while saying good-bye to Pak Army. He is a hero for the entire nation. Though’ Operation Zarb-i-Azb’ is continuing, in fact to take care of those miscreants infiltrating from Afghanistan. In the successful conduct of this operation, the foremost element was its meticulous planning at GHQ. The other factors include; the national unity against the menace of terrorism and radicalisation. The nation was at the peak of its frustration against terrorism, once Pak Army started this operation in June 2014. Rather political will, the national spirit was the driving force in the launch of Operation Zarb-i-Azb. The Government supported the operation reluctantly, since there were political compulsions and perhaps annoyance of some of the groups, forming part of the current setup.
Pakistani media too deserve an appreciation for the positive projection of the Operation Zarb-i-Azb. Taking a lead from Pakistani independent media, international media also projected positively about this great military take on. It is worth mentioning that, there was a time before launch of this operation that NWA was considered as a ‘No Go Area.’ After the successful dismantling of terrorist bases and their explosive factories, media people were taken on ground to see the terrorist’s network, personally. The journalists physically visited those hideouts, explosive and IED factories and training and logistics sites, which were used by militants for their living and planning, controlling and executing their terrorist acts.
The role of Pakistani media during the on-going Operation Zarb-i-Azb has really been commendable. This means media can best educate the society against presence of any terrorists and their evil designs and all other aspects; which a civil society needs. Awareness among the masses in Pakistan is in fact is the need of hour. This include; the duties and rights towards and from the state. Operation Zarb-i-Azb may take few more months to reach to its logical conclusion, but, there is a need of dedicated Government support for the rehabilitation of the displaced people who are in the process of the rehabilitation and resettlement. Here again Pak Army is helping these people. It was a gigantic task for the Federal Government and FATA administration, which is also being done by Pak Army.
At a time once India and Afghanistan are trying to sandwich Pakistan through direct and indirect threats, the change of command in GHQ is significant and being watched eagerly both by friends and foes of Pakistan. The outgoing COAS has left a very high standard of military professionalism, military diplomacy, popularity among the masses and global acceptability of the achievements of Pak Army in Operation Zarb-i-Azb. Nevertheless, there are challenges too. The biggest challenge is to have a balance in the civil-military relationship within Pakistan. This aspect would strengthen the state and armed forces while defeating those trying to create rifts.
Secondly, India needs a befitting response to its aggressive military postures, the aggressive heavy and small arms firing across the LoC, so far killed over fifty civilians and twelve soldiers. The Modi doctrine of pressurizing Pakistan to accept the Indian domination has to be contested and subsequently defeated. Alongside India, there has to be re-thinking over the strategy of Afghanistan. Afghan leadership is playing in the hands of India, which needs to be tackled carefully. Pakistan has to formulate ways and means to disengage the Afghanistan from India, a declared enemy of Muslims. Pakistan and Afghanistan have to come closer for the regional peace and economic stability.
Internally, continuation of the drive against terrorism and extremism either through the extension of Operation Zab-i-Azb or else intelligence based operations is most needed aspect. In any case, terrorism has to be defeated and eliminated from this land of Pakistan to bring peace, political stability, economic prosperity and well-being of people. Internationally, there has to be continuation and enhancement of greater military-to-military cooperation and collaboration. The wider propagation of Pakistani achievements in the war against terror, telling effects of strategic significance of Pak in the regional geopolitics and commitment with Kashmir cause at regional and international level are other significant aspects need to be kept in mind by the New Command. Like his predecessor, General Qamar Bajwa is a true soldier, a visionary military leader and a dedicated and patriotic Pakistani. Pakistani nation and oppressed Kashmiris expect a lot from him. With his able personality; a combination of humanity, perseverance and valour, Pakistani nation wish him all the successes.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.

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