Pakistan’s outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa believes that the armys decision to become “apolitical” will help enhance its prestige in the long term.
“Pakistan Army has always remained a dominant player in national decision-making. Due to its historic role in country’s politics, the military drew severe criticism from public and politicians alike,” Geo News quoted Gen Bajwa as saying in an exclusive interview with the UAE-based publication Gulf News.
The COAS will hand over command of the army to General Asim Munir on Tuesday who was appointed as his successor by the government last week.
The general reiterated that the army has restricted its “role to its constitutional mandated task only by deciding to make it ‘apolitical'”.
“This decision, though being viewed negatively by a segment of society and led to personal criticism, will facilitate in reinvigorating and strengthening democratic culture, assist in supporting state organs to effectively perform and deliver. Above all, this decision will help enhance army’s prestige in the long term,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News.
The outgoing army chief said that the military has enjoyed unmatched respect and trust of the Pakistani nation throughout the country’s history.
“Army’s positive and constructive role in Pakistan’s national security and development has always received unwavering public support. I believe that public support and affinity towards the armed forces tends to erode when the military is seen to be involved in political affairs, and, therefore, I considered it prudent to shield Pakistan Army from the vagaries of politics in Pakistan,” said Gen Bajwa.
He assured that despite the “some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives”, the institution will remain committed to its apolitical role.
“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond,” said Gen Bajwa.