Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has assured the nation that the armed forces have distanced themselves from politics and wanted to continue to do so, according to a media report on Wednesday.
General Bajwa, who is in the U.S., also reiterated his promise to leave office after completing his second three-year term in November, adding that he would fulfill the pledge he made earlier, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa, 61, would retire on November 29. Mr. Bajwa had been given an extension for a second term of three years in 2019.
His remarks came at a lunch hosted at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington.
According to those who attended the event, Mr. Bajwa said that the armed forces have distanced themselves from politics and wanted to continue to do so, the newspaper reported.
These remarks came in the wake of former premier Imran Khan making anti-military statements.
Mr. Bajwa has held the top post of the Pakistan Army for six years. He was initially appointed in 2016, but after three years of tenure, the then government of Imran Khan in 2019 extended his service for another three years.
The appointment of the Army chief is the sole prerogative of the prime minister. The upcoming appointment of a new Army chief is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
When Mr. Khan was in power, the Opposition accused him of trying to bring an army chief of his choice, who could support his alleged agenda of victimising opposition leaders.
Since he lost power, the equation has changed and now Mr. Khan is saying that the coalition government wants to install an army head of its choice to protect looted wealth and steal general elections.
The powerful army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Mr. Bajwa also emphasised that reviving Pakistan’s debilitated economy should be the top priority of all as the nation would not be able to achieve its goals without a robust economy.
“There could be no diplomacy either without a strong economy,” said the army chief in his address to an audience that included several Pakistani diplomats.