Wednesday, the outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa gave his last address as the Army Chief during the Defence and Martyrs’ Day ceremony at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
During his address, General Bajwa made some hard-hitting remarks on Pakistani politics and the Army’s role which have taken the country by storm.
General Bajwa said the army had initiated its process of “catharsis” and expected that political parties would follow suit as well and reflect on their behavior.
“This is the reality that there have been mistakes from every institution, including political parties and civil society,” he said while adding that no single party can take Pakistan out of the current economic crisis.
General Bajwa was also of the view that the army was targeted recently by some political forces with a “false and made-up narrative” and the institution, despite being in the capacity to respond to it by all manner, stayed calm but “patience has a limit”.
“I came to the conclusion that it is because of the army’s involvement in politics. So, in February last year, the institution decided that it will no longer interfere in politics,” said the COAS.
Reaction by PTI
The remarks sparked a strong reaction from PTI. Senior PTI leaders took to Twitter to voice their opinion regarding COAS Bajwa’s farewell speech.
“Free advice: If you want people to believe you’re apolitical, don’t make people believe you’re apolitical by giving a political speech,” Asad Umar said.
مفت مشورہ : اگر آپ چاہتے ہیں کہ لوگ یقین کریں کہ آپ غیر سیاسی ہیں تو ایک سیاسی تقریر کر کے لوگوں کو اس بات کا یقین نہ دلائیں کے آپ غیر سیاسی ہیں
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) November 23, 2022
“The establishment’s decision to remain apolitical is not a new decision. Almost everyone has heard this many times in their lives. The Pakistani of today is different from the Pakistani of 1988. A common Pakistani wants his political and social rights. The need for a new social contract, where everyone is respected and everyone is accountable,” former SAPM Dr. Shahbaz Gill said.
اسٹیبلشمنٹ کا فیصلہ کہ اس نےغیر سیاسی رہنا ہے کوئی نیا فیصلہ نہیں تقریباً اپنی زندگی میں یہ چیز بیش بہا بار سن چکے ہیں۔آج کا پاکستانی1988کے پاکستانی سے مختلف ہے۔ایک عام پاکستانی اپنے سیاسی اور سماجی حقوق چاہتا ہے۔نئے سماجی کنٹریکٹ کی ضرورت ہے جہاں سب کا احترام ہو اور سب کا احتساب
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) November 23, 2022
PTI leader and former Federal Minister Shireen Mazari asserted that the US conspiracy was real with the cipher being its evidence.
Now herein lies a serious problem bec by countering this view one runs risk of abduction, torture or worse. BUT fact is US conspiracy was real & cipher is evidence of it. So please allow an alternative view presented with data. Also time to release cipher for nation to decide. pic.twitter.com/h7uTx1X3ZX
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) November 23, 2022
“Establishment needs to realize 66% of Pakistan’s population is under 28, growing middle-class and internet access has changed the ground rules, close door rules have become redundant course correction is the way forward. Establishment’s role is important but Sovereignty belongs to the people,” Fawad Chaudhry said.
“Absolutely correct! And the intelligence gap has lessened massively. Hence fake narratives fail in a matter of hours with the masses. The “correction” you talk about is a RESET of the entire political ecosystem. And that’s done by holding free & fair elections with no involvement,” Zulfi Bukhari said while agreeing with Fawad Chaudhry.
Absolutely correct! And the intelligence gap as lessened massively.Hence fake narratives fail in a matter of hours with the masses.The “correction” you talk about is a RESET of the entire political eco system. And that’s done by holding free & fair elections with no involvement https://t.co/EjlS0KHOwF
— Sayed Z Bukhari (@sayedzbukhari) November 23, 2022