Challenges for new COAS | By Abdul Basit Alvi

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Challenges for new COAS

GENERAL Syed Asim Munir has taken over the command of Pakistan Army. He has been appointed for the position because of his seniority.

During his remarkable military career he served in many key positions. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General in September 2018 and was subsequently appointed as DG ISI.

He previously served as Director General of Military Intelligence and Corps Commander of XXX Corps (30 Corps) Gujranwala.

He was serving in GHQ as Quartermaster General prior to assumption of his charge as COAS.

He was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz in March 2018. The new Chief has rich experience in intelligence and military operations.

General Asim Munir will now be leading the world’s sixth largest military force which is bravely engaged in the protection of our around 6,774 km (around 4,209 miles) long borders.

He will be the man now to take care of our external borders and eliminate the chances of cross border terrorism.

The Pakistan-India border is almost 2,912 kilometres long. India has been involved in terrorism and spying matters in Pakistan since long and is still carrying on its evil activities against us.

India is our biggest enemy and we have fought many wars with them. The main reason for our conflict with India is Kashmir on which Pakistan has fought three wars and have lost many precious lives.

AJK was liberated because of major efforts from Pak Army and the issue of J&K is still alive because of Pakistan and Pak Army.

General Asim Munir will have to keep an eye on India and its cross-border activities. Complete elimination of any leftover militant, terrorist or banned groups will be another challenge for him.

Though the situation of peace within the country is much better after nationwide operations of Radd-ul-Fasaad, Khyber-4 and Zarb-e-Azb, yet the new COAS will have to ensure the continuation of peace in the country at any cost.

National Security Policy which is Pakistan’s first ever security Policy and it was made to ensure the safety, security, dignity and prosperity of the citizens of Pakistan is intact and new COAS will have to act on it and look for any further improvement.

Another challenge from the internal front will be to keep the institution neutral in political matters.

The previous COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa tried his level best to refrain from bias and focused on keeping the institution neutral.

The glimpse of this approach was seen in recent by-elections which were held in quite free and fair environment and no one raised any issue of interference.

In a recent ceremony at GHQ, General Bajwa said, “In contrast to that, our army, which day and night serving the nation, is often made the subject of criticism.

This is why the army, after great deliberations, decided that it would never interfere in any political matter.

He further said that instead of welcoming the military’s decision, many quarters used very inappropriate and undignified language while making the army the target of severe criticism.

Unfortunately, in Pakistan we don’t have a culture of tolerance and acceptance. One who fails in election always blames the Establishment, which has always been a soft and easy target for such propaganda due to many reasons.

Political parties try to pull Army in politics whereas Army has clearly decided to keep them away from such things.

Pak Army might have to provide security in upcoming elections and it will be a challenge for the Army Chief to tackle the mindset of defeated parties.

General Asim Munir will have to look into these issues while saving the image of our defence forces.

The successive army chiefs have used their personal influence and contacts in other countries to get help and assistance for Pakistan.

The same will be expected from new COAS in order to cope with current and upcoming issues.

The doors of international cricket and other sports which were closed for Pakistan due to the bad security situation in the country are open now.

International teams are visiting Pakistan and their players are playing in our national leagues as well.

This all is because of the foolproof security environment which was provided by Pak Army and it will have to be ensured in future also.

Pak Army has been continuously engaged during all disasters. Pakistan Army’s role in the current flood relief operation is quite remarkable where they are helping the affectees on a 24/7 basis.

Pak Army has also worked remarkably in the 2005 Earthquake. They will have to take care of such kinds of incidents in future as well.

Pakistan Army is the only institution of the country which has all tangible and intangible resources to tackle internal and external issues so their collaboration and support will be needed for Pakistan in future as well.

The main strength of Pak Army is the people of Pakistan which stands with them in all conditions.

Whole nation is on the back of our defence forces. We fully believe that the new COAS has all the capabilities to tackle all challenges for leading the country towards success.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Muzaffarabad.