Prime Minister Imran Khan has given a three-year extension to Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
“General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure,” a letter signed by the prime minister said.
The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment, the letter said.
General Bajwa took the command of the army on November 29, 2016. He was supposed to retire in November.
The tenure of army chief lasts three years and it can be extended for an additional three years only once.
Imran Khan, as an opposition politician, had said that judges and generals should never be given extensions.
In an interview with Express News a few years ago, PM Khan had said that all institutions should be run according to their laws.
“When you change the laws for an individual, it affects the entire institution,” he had said.
He further said that the generals were not given extensions even during the world war, adding that change of rules for an individual weakens institutions.
In a tweet in January 2016, he praised former army chief for “refusing” to seek an extension.
The prime minister had said that “the nation’s respect for General Raheel Sharif has gone up after his statement refusing to seek an extension.”
Defense analyst Brigadier (retired) Haris Nawaz said the government’s decision to grant an extension to General Bajwa is an “appropriate” one. He said that the Pakistani military is playing an important role in talks between the Afghan Taliban and the US.
He remarked that New Delhi’s aggression at the Line of Control and in India-held Kashmir could be the reason behind the extension.
On the basis of seniority, there are four officers who could’ve replaced General Bajwa if his tenure wasn’t extended. This includes Strategic Command Division DG Lt Gen Sarfaraz Sattar, Chief of General Staff Lt General Nadeem Raza, Karachi Commander Lt General Humayun Aziz and Multan Commander Naeem Ashraf.
It has been observed that in the past the senior officers either took early retirement or completed their respective tenures.
Previously, General (retd) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has served two terms as the army chief from 2007 to 2013. His extension was approved by former PM Yousaf Raza Gillani.