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COAS’s visit to LUMS sparks controversy

COAS said that "there is dire need of human development in the fields of education, health, infrastructure and environment." While talking about the current situation, the COAS stressed the need to stay united to thwart hostile attempts targeted to divide the country.

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The Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, on the 14th of March, visited Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). On his arrival, the Chief was welcomed by LUMS Vice-Chancellor Dr. Arshad Ahmad Malik and several faculty members.

Although the press was not allowed to cover his visit, reports have emerged that the Chief of Army Staff, while addressing the students, appreciated the role that the premier educational institutions were playing in preparing the next generation for leadership roles. COAS said that “there is dire need of human development in the fields of education, health, infrastructure and environment.”

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While talking about the current situation, the COAS stressed the need to stay united to thwart hostile attempts targeted to divide the country. The COAS asserted that the spread of misinformation posed a grave threat to national cohesion. The visit lasted eight long hours, and after the General’s introductory speech, the floor was open for questions. 

Nida Kirmani, a faculty member at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, on 11 March, in view of the General’s visit to the institution, took to Twitter and confirmed that she was given the permission to “attend the COAS’s visit to LUMS.” She added that “The rules are: arrive by 11:15, no phones, laptops, smartwatches, electronic devices, bags, or leaving for 4 hours even to use the washroom, & still no response on whether one can ask questions.” The faculty member ended up not attending the “non-public” event; however, she confirmed that around 80 students attended the discussion session. 

Regardless, one certain “quote” seems to have taken the social media by storm. Although confirmation is still awaited, it is purported that the COAS said, “If you think I call the shots in this country, then you have no idea who Imran Khan is.” The purported statement, if confirmed, sheds the speculations of a civil-military divide and comes at a very important time, when the opposition has announced to march against the government’s “mismanagment” and has called for a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly. 

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Students and faculty members asked very candid questions during the eight-hour-long session and hailed the interaction as very positive and inspiring.

Before his visit to LUMS, the COAS visited Lahore Garrison where he remarked that “Pakistani youth is extremely talented and enterprising, given the right opportunities and enabling environment they will lead the country to progress and prosperity,”