On Thursday, the army attempted to allay rumours that Army Chief Gen. Qamar Bajwa intended to remain in his position by claiming that he was already on his farewell tour.
“General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), visited Sialkot and Mangla garrisons as part of his farewell visits to various formations,” ISPR said in a statement.
The army chief spoke to the troops and met with officers and soldiers in both sites on Thursday. He was grateful for formations’ outstanding performance during numerous operations, training exercises, and natural disasters. The COAS urged soldiers to continue serving the country with the same fervour and dedication regardless of the situation.
Earlier, Lieutenant General Muhammad Aamer welcomed the COAS upon his arrival in Sialkot, while Lieutenant General Ayman Bilal Safdar did likewise at the Mangla base.
On November 29, Gen. Bajwa will complete his prolonged tenure. He had previously stated his intention to retire this year several months ago.
The general himself had twice in the past few months made it clear that he had no intentions to carry on, once during his visit to the United States and again while speaking at the National Security Workshop at National Defense University.
ISPR would later confirm the general’s retirement plan on at least a few occasions.
However, no one was ready to accept it due in large part to the ongoing political unrest.
When facing a vote of no confidence, even the former prime minister Imran Khan felt that the political action against him was motivated by Gen. Bajwa’s approaching retirement. According to a recent press conference by senior military authorities, he had therefore extended his offer to Gen. Bajwa indefinitely in an effort to prevent the vote against him from the then opposition.
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On November 1, Gen. Bajwa finally began his goodbye visits to formations with a stop to the Army Air Defence Command. The next day, he went to the Armed Forces Strategic Forces Command. He has since made a modest tour of several formations.
His visit to the Peshawar Corps followed the most recent corps commanders conference, which took place on Tuesday and was widely monitored by political analysts.
Many people think that the visit to Peshawar was scheduled carefully to indicate that the succession process would begin following the meeting of the top brass, which was likely to be the final one that Gen. Bajwa would have presided over with a formal agenda.
The public’s doubt that Gen. Bajwa will quit when his term is up and former prime minister Imran Khan’s concerns