Islamabad, Nov 28 (PTI) Pakistan’s outgoing Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday paid separate farewell visits to President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here.
General Bajwa is scheduled to hand over the “baton of command” to his successor General Asim Munir at a change of command ceremony on Tuesday at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
The army chief paid a farewell call on President Alvi at the Aiwan-e-Sadar, a statement from the President’s Secretariat said.
President Alvi, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party lately experienced difficult relations with General Bajwa, expressed good wishes for him during their meeting.
He also commended the services of the outgoing army chief in the field of defence.
General Bajwa also attended a farewell meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz, who organised a luncheon in the honour of the general. The prime minister and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had been very critical of General Bajwa.
“The army, under the leadership of Gen Bajwa, has rendered exemplary services during various crises – including the removal of Pakistan from the FATF’s (Financial Action Task Force) grey list, coronavirus pandemic, and floods,” Shehbaz said.
The armed forces crushed the menace of terrorism with valour and bravery under Gen Bajwa’s leadership, the prime minister said as he noted that he took charge as the army chief during “one of history’s toughest moments”.
On his part, the outgoing army chief thanked the prime minister for his full cooperation in the execution of national affairs.
Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified and imprisoned when Bajwa was the army chief, on a couple of occasions criticized him by name at public rallies.
General Bajwa took over command in 2016 after he was appointed by former premier Nawaz Sharif. His service was extended for another three years by ex-premier Imran Khan in 2019.
He is succeeded by General Munir who was appointed as the 17th army chief of the country last week after an intense media debate and speculation about the change of military command in the country.
The new army chief would have to tackle a host of problems, including the threat of militants. But his main test would be how to remain steadfast on the decision by the army that it will stay away from politics. PTI SH ZH ZH
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