Pakistan’s army chief admits military meddling in politics | News

Written by

But General Qamar Javed Bajwa reveals that the country’s most powerful institution has decided to stay away from politics.

Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s outgoing army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, says the military has illegally interfered in politics for decades and will no longer do so.

In his final speech as army chief on Wednesday, Bajwa defended the country’s most powerful institution, which has come under fire, particularly from former prime minister Imran Khan, who has accused the army of a role in his removal in April.

Speaking at an event at army headquarters in the eastern city of Rawalpindi, the 62-year-old general wondered why the army in neighboring India was not criticized by the public.

“In my opinion, the reason for this is the constant interference of the army in politics for the last 70 years, which is unconstitutional,” he said. “Therefore, since last February, the military has decided that they will not interfere in any political matter.”

He added that the military has started its “catharsis” and expressed hope that political parties will also “introspect their behavior.”

“The reality is that in Pakistan, institutions, political parties and civil society – they have all made mistakes,” Bajwa said. “It’s time we learn from them and move on.”

Highlighting Pakistan’s precarious economic situation, Bajwa urged all stakeholders to put aside their egos, work together and learn to accept their victories and losses.

The 62-year-old general has been at the helm of the 600,000-strong nuclear-armed military since 2016. He was given a three-year extension in August 2019 by then-Prime Minister Khan. He will retire on Tuesday.

It is expected Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif announce his successor in the coming days.

In a speech that lasted about 10 minutes, Bajwa spent a lot of time on the subject of politics, condemning the outpouring of negativity and harsh criticism against the military, which has ruled the country for more than half the time since its independence in 1947.

The army has major interests in the economy and has considerable influence in deciding the South Asian country’s policy regarding foreign affairs and national security. No prime minister has ever completed his term of office.

Bajwa admitted it criticism of the military from political parties and the public is their right, but warned against the use of unworthy words against the army.

“Everyone should remember that there are limits to this patience,” he said. “I will overlook this aggressive criticism against myself and my army because Pakistan is the most important thing for all of us.”

About the author

Leave a Comment