Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday, in his farewell address at the Defence and Martyrs Day ceremony, reaffirmed that in the future, the Army would have no role in the country’s politics.
The Army Chief was addressing the Defence and Martyrs Day Ceremony 2022 at the General Headquarters (GHQ), which was postponed earlier due to torrential rains and massive floods in the country. The ceremony was included in the schedule of farewell visits on the wish of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The serving and retired officers of the Pakistan Army, and families of martyrs and veterans, participated in the event.
The Army Chief, in the first-ever public farewell speech of any outgoing COAS, said the Army’s role in politics was unconstitutional. “In February last year, the Army’s leadership decided that there will be no role of the institution in any political matters in future.”
He said: “Today is Pakistan’s Martyrs’ Day as the Army Chief, I am addressing for the last time. Due to the floods, Martyrs’ Day is being held late.”
General Bajwa said the families of the martyrs were the pride of the nation and the Army would never leave their families alone. In his six-year tenure, he added, the families of the martyrs were always found in high spirits, whereas the force could not reward but would not allow the sacrifices of their loved ones, to go in vain.
The Army Chief said he was proud to have been the commander of the Pakistan Army for the last six years.
He remarked that the main task of the Army was to protect the geographical boundaries of the country, but it always went an extra mile for the service of the nation. Whether it was the case of Reko Diq or Karkey’s fine, FATF’s negative impacts on the country, a journey to the white list, integration of erstwhile FATA, fencing the western border, or providing less expensive gas from Qatar, loans from friendly countries, combating Covid-19 or eradicating locusts, relief operations during floods, the army had always fulfilled its mandate to serve the nation and would continue to do so, Inshallah, in the future.
He said: “I assure you that despite these actions, the Army will never neglect its primary task and fight against terrorism. There are sacrifices that can never be forgotten because the nations that forget their martyrs are the nations that vanish.”
Commenting on the Dhakka debacle in 1971, the Army Chief said he intended to discuss the topic that people usually avoid, which related to the performance of the Army in former East Pakistan in 1971.
He said: “I want to rectify some facts here. First of all, the East Pakistan crisis was not a military but a political failure. The number of fighting soldiers was not 92,000, rather only 34,000, the rest were from various government departments.”
The COAS said that these 34,000 people had been confronting 250,000 Indian Army soldiers, and 200,000 trained Mukti Bahini but still they fought valiantly despite all odds.