Amid tensions with India after New Delhi abruptly ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday retained Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the top military post in light of what Khan’s order referred to as “the regional security situation”.
General Bajwa’s three-year-long tenure was to expire in November.
“General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure. The decision has been taken in view of regional security environment,” the order issued by Imran Khan said.
Before General Qamar Javed Bajwa was first appointed to the post in 2016 by former PM Nawaz Sharif, he was widely perceived to be a dark horse in the race. But Gen Bajwa’s extensive experience of affairs in Kashmir was said to have gone in favour of the career infantry officer from the Baloch Regiment.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision comes against an all-out effort to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two union territories to be administered from national capital Delhi.
Last week, the Union Nations Security Council had ruled out a formal and open meeting on Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan had demanded. Instead, the UN Security Council discussed the issue at closed consultations on Friday. In a statement soon after, India’s envoy to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin said India’s commitment to address Kashmir issue on the bilateral track had “very broad acceptance globally” and New Delhi didn’t “need international busybodies to try to tell us how to run our lives”.
According to inputs with intelligence agencies, terrorist groups backed by the Pakistani army were also making efforts to carry out strikes in the Indian hinterland to bring the focus back on Jammu and Kashmir. Alerts have been sounded in several cities over the past few weeks over intelligence inputs that indicate there were efforts to activate sleeper cells in cities such as Mumbai.__Hindustan Times