PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif officially takes office as the new prime minister of Pakistan. However, it appears that the Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa did not attend the oath-taking ceremony.
Media coverage of the ceremony showed that the chiefs of the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza attended the event. On the other hand, General Bajwa was nowhere to be seen at the oath-taking ceremony. Needless to say, his absence has raised questions on social media.
Important to note, prior to Shehbaz Sharif’s appointment as the prime minister, Pakistan was in a state of political chaos leading up to the vote of no-confidence against former prime minister Imran Khan.
On late 9th April, Islamabad was brimming with political activity. There were even rumors that Imran Khan had sacked General Bajwa. However, Imran Khan later dismissed the reports, claiming that he had no plans to change the defense department. Pertinent to mention, the media actively covers General Bajwa whenever he attends any public or official event. Therefore, his absence did not go unnoticed.
“A detailed review after review of the footage of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s oath- taking ceremony made available to news channels by PTV didn’t show COAS Gen. Qamar Bajwa amongst the guests, other services Chief were shown. No official explanation is available,” leading journalist Kamran Khan tweeted.
A detailed review after review of the footage of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif oath taking ceremony made available to news channels by PTV didn't show COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa amongst the guests, other services chiefs were shown. No official explanation is available. pic.twitter.com/VrlHrVclGu
— Kamran Khan (@AajKamranKhan) April 11, 2022
#Video Swearing-in ceremony of Shehbaz Sharif,the 23rd Prime Minister of #Pakistan.All Services Chiefs were present in the oath-taking ceremony of the new 🇵🇰 PM ,@PTVNewsOfficial & official video released by Govt officials didn't show Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa amongst the guests pic.twitter.com/R2qbQcZpD9
— Ghulam Abbas Shah (@ghulamabbasshah) April 11, 2022
How many of you noticed….that Gen Qamar Bajwa COAS Pakistan Army did not attend the oath taking ceremony of Shahbaz Sharif….this shows he and his Generals are not part of the regime change in Pakistan…..
— Mujahid Ahmed-🦅🇵🇰 (@CallSignMujahid) April 11, 2022
Dr. Arif Alvi skips oath-taking ceremony
Similarly, President Dr. Arif Alvi also did not attend the oath-taking ceremony. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani performed this constitutional duty after President Dr. Arif Alvi excused himself from attending.
Shortly before the ceremony, the President’s Twitter account revealed that he complained of “discomfort”.
“President Dr. Arif Alvi has complained of discomfort. The physician has examined him thoroughly and has advised him rest for a few days,” the tweet read.
President Dr. Arif Alvi has complained of discomfort. The physician has examined him thoroughly and has advised him rest for a few days.
— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) April 11, 2022
Pertinent to mention, shortly before Shehbaz Sharif’s nomination as the new prime minister, the entire PTI party resigned from the National Assembly. To clarify, PTI refused to take part in Shehbaz Sharif becoming the new prime minister. Even Shah Mehmood Qureshi withdrew as the candidate for the PM seat.
In short and according to public opinion, the absence of the key personalities is a clear message that they too do not accept Shehbaz Sharif as the new prime minister. Important to note, the majority of the public has totally rejected the new government.
Regarding this, thousands of people thronged the streets across major cities in Pakistan to protest against the new prime minister. Additionally, the protests even gained international media coverage as well. Moreover, since the past few days, there are various Twitter campaigns running against the new PML-N government.
He is not my prime minister.
— Muhammad Haroon Aslam HI(M) SBt (Lt Gen- Retd) (@AVeteran1956) April 12, 2022
While President Dr. Arif Alvi already clarified why he could not attend the oath-taking ceremony of Shehbaz Sharif, a clarification from General Bajwa’s side is awaited.