Setting at rest weeks of intense speculation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday appointed Lt General Qamar Javed Bajwa, a career infantry officer from the Baloch Regiment, as Pakistan’s new army chief.
Sharif also finalised Lt General Zubair Hayat as the new Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
Bajwa and Zubair will be promoted to the rank of four-star generals and take up their new posts from November 29, the day the current Army Chief Raheel Sharif retires.
Bajwa, who takes over as Pakistan’s 16th army chief, is currently serving at the GHQ as Inspector General of the Training and Evaluation, – the position Gen Raheel Sharif held before becoming army chief. Lt General Bajwa has also commanded the 10 Corps, the Pakistan army’s largest, which is responsible for the area along the Line of Control (LoC).
according to sources bajwa has extensive experience of handling affairs in Kashmir and the northern areas of the country. As a major general, he led the Force Command Northern Areas. He also served in the 10 Corps as lieutenant colonel, where he was GSO.
Despite his extensive involvement with Kashmir and northern areas, he is said to consider extremism a bigger threat for the country than India.
Bajwa has served with a UN mission in Congo as a brigade commander alongside former Indian army chief Gen Bikram Singh, who was also there as a division commander.
He has previously also remained the commandant of the Infantry School in Quetta.
His military colleagues say he is not attention-seeking and remains well connected with his troops, said Daily Pakistan.
Lt Gen Bajwa is also said to be an apolitical person without any biases. He is from the infantry’s Baloch Regiment, which has given three officers to the post of army chief – Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Kayani.
General Zubair has served as Bahawalpur corps commander. He graduated from Command and Staff College Camberley, United Kingdom, and National Defence University, Islamabad. The general served in key posts throughout his career.
As a major general, Hayat served as General Officer Commanding (GOC) Sialkot and led Staff Duties Directorate. He was elevated to lieutenant general in January 2013 and was made corps commander Bahawalpur, reported Geo News.
He was later appointed director general (DG) of the Strategic Plans Division in December 2013. The division, formed in 2001, is vital to research and development of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and it works as the secretariat of National Command Authority.
After this crucial responsibility, General Zubair Hayat was appointed Chief of General Staff (CGS).
Hayat hails from a military family. His father retired from the Pakistan Army as a major general.
One of Gen. Zubair’s brothers, Lt. Gen. Umar Hayat, is serving as chairman of Pakistan Ordinance Factory, Wah Cantt.
Others in contention for the post of army chief were Bahawalpur Corps Commander Lt General Javed Iqbal Ramday and Multan Corps Commander Lt General Ishfaq Nadeem.