Unrest in Pakistan Army, 7 Lieutenant Generals against General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s extension

Unrest in Pakistan Army, 7 Lieutenant Generals against General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s extension

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure was to end on November 29, 2019, but the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan granted him an extension. General Bajwa’s extension as Pakistan Army Chief seems to have triggered a wave of rebellion across the Pakistani Army. A total of seven Army Lieutenant Generals are strictly against General Bajwa leading the Army even for a day after the end of his tenure which has been conditionally extended for six months by Pakistan’s Supreme Court after Imran Khan’s order was challenged.

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The list of the top Army officers includes Multan Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Sattar, who tops the list to take over as the next Chief of Army Staff. Apart from him, Lieutenant General Nadeem Raja, Lieutenant General Humayun Aziz, Lieutenant General Naeem Asraf, Lieutenant General Sher Afghan and Lieutenant General Qazi Ikram have also opposed Bajwa’s extension of service. Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Bilal Akbar, ranked seventh in the order of preference, is also against the extension.

There is a long history of rebellion and military coup in Pakistan but now the rebellion seems to be taking place in the Pakistani Army and the current Chief is the target.

Bajwa, who is turning 60 in 2020, was due to retire from the post on November 29. His tenure had been extended by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan by three years back in August. But after his extension was challenged, the Pakistan Supreme Court ordered the government to complete the necessary legislation regarding the extension rules in the country’s constitution within six months.

The term extension of General Bajwa carries a lot of meaning for Pakistan. The suspension of the extension of the army chief`s tenure adds volatility to the charged-up political atmosphere in Pakistan where the Imran Khan government faces troubles on many fronts.

The 10th Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, General Bajwa was appointed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on November 29, 2016, for the period of three years. As per the Pakistan media reports, his appointment as Army chief was on the basis of his pro-democracy stance and his low-key style. Prior to his elevation, Bajwa served at the Pakistani Army General Headquarters as Inspector General of Training and Evaluation in 2015. Before serving at Army General Headquarters, he was appointed as Colonel Commandant of Baloch Regiment.