Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved an extension in the tenure of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for another three years, a statement issued by the premier’s office said on Monday. The announcement comes nearly three months before Gen Bajwa was due to retire.
“General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure,” read the brief notification issued by the prime minister’s office, seen by Dawn.com.
It added that “The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment.” The notification was personally signed by Prime Minister Imran.
Gen Bajwa was appointed as the chief of army staff by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016.
His extension marks the second time in nearly a decade that the country’s top general had their traditional three-year term extended.
Prime Minister Imran’s first year in office has been characterised by a rare harmony in the traditionally fraught relationship between the country’s civilian and military leaderships, with Gen Bajwa last month defending the tough economic measures taken by the PTI government as “difficult but extremely essential”.
The announcement of the army chief’s tenure extension comes amidst critical developments on Pakistan’s eastern and western frontiers.
Tensions between Pakistan and Indian flared this month after New Delhi decided to strip occupied Kashmir of its special constitutional status and imposed a crippling curfew in the territory that has continued for weeks. Islamabad angrily slammed the decision, taking the matter to the United Nations Security Council and expelling India’s ambassador and suspending bilateral trade.