This is what gave Qamar Bajwa an edge in the race for Pak army chief post, according to Pak media
General Qamar Bajwa+ 's "pro-democracy credentials" and his low profile influenced Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif+ to appoint him to the powerful post of army chief superseding four top generals, Pakistani media and experts commented on Sunday.
"A careful review of General Bajwa's profile clearly reflects that his pro-democracy credentials earned him the post of Chief of Army Staff+ ," leading Pakistani newspaper The News commented, a day after Prime Minister Sharif appointed Gen Bajwa to succeed Gen Raheel Sharif as the army chief.
The media commented that Prime Minister Sharif wanted to appoint an army chief who should be military expert as well as backing democracy in the Islamic nation.
The military has been in charge of the country for more than half of Pakistan's nearly 70-year history since independence from Britain.
"All the four generals being considered for the post of COAS were passed out from military academy on the same day but undoubtedly General Bajwa has an experience more diversified than all others. General Bajwa's caliber, credentials, experience and holding the biggest core also helped him to be appointed the Chief of Army Staff," the report said.
Another leading daily, Dawn said, "Gen Bajwa's relatively more moderate view of the relationship with the civilian government, it is said, proved to be the decisive factor in Prime Minister Sharif's decision."
One of Gen Bajwa's former commanding officers told the paper that the COAS-designate is a "strong proponent of the army not intruding into civilian space."
Under the watch of the outgoing army chief Sharif, the civil-military balance of power had titled more in military's favour, the report said.
With his elevation as army chief, Gen Bajwa has now superseded Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain (chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila), Lt Gen Najibullah Khan (DG Joint Staff Headquarters), Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed (Corps Commander Multan) and Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday (Corps Commander Bahawalpur).
Dawn also said that Prime Minister Sharif named the new military command, appointing Gen Bajwa and Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), respectively, in the hope of stabilising the fragile civil-military balance.
While the office of CJCSC is technically the more senior position -- as he serves as the principal military adviser to the prime minister and the National Command Authority (NCA) -- the office of army chief is the most prized and arguably the most powerful position in the country, the paper said.
Bajwa, an infantry officer, has commanded the famed 10 Corps, the army's largest, which is responsible for guarding the area along the Line of Control (LoC) with India.
On a personal level, Gen Bajwa is said to be witty, accessible, well-connected with the troops and not fond of the limelight.
Bajwa is the fourth officer from the infantry's Baloch Regiment to become the army chief. Before him, Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Kayani rose to that position.
Meanwhile, PML-N Senator, Lt General (Retired) Abdul Qayyum said there was no difference in the credentials of all the four generals who were considered for the top slot in army. However it was prime minister's discretion to appoint anyone among the four candidates.
"Prime Minister definitely wanted an army chief who is supportive of democratic system in the country, who believes in the supremacy of Parliament and who could work for the betterment of the country.
"These were the major points what I believe the prime minister would have taken into consideration before appointing the COAS. I believe General Qamar Bajwa possesses all these elements due to which he has been given the top slot in Pakistan Army," Gen Qayyum told The News.
To a question about General Bajwa's positive role in the 2014 anti-government sit in, he said he was not sure about any such information however if he had played a positive role, it was his duty as they took oath to protect the Constitution of Pakistan.
On Prime Minister Sharif's decision to supersede four generals, Gen Qayyum said it was prime minister's prerogative.
"The premier wanted an all rounder for the top slot in Pakistan Army who could not only run the institution of Pak Army but his relation with the civil government was also important," he said.
Former Corp Commander Karachi Lieutenant General (Retired) Sajjad Ghani said there was no major difference in the credentials of the four candidates for the top slot.
However it was up to the prime minister's discretion who saw his suitability in terms of working relations with the civilian government. Therefore, he said this was not a surprise for those who were aware of the system of Pakistan Army.
History, it seems, hasn't taught the Pakistanis in general and Nawaz Sharif, in particular, anything it seems. Appointments to the high office of COAS are fraught with great danger to the PM. But, then, do they have any control over their fate having decided seven decades back that come what may, their sole objective is their obsession with India?
COAS Ayub Khan was inducted by President Iskander Mirza (of Mir Jaffer lineage) in his cabinet and Ayub promptly ousted him and exiled him. Ayub himself was forced to relinquish by his chosen COAS Yahya Khan.The middle level officers of the Pak Army revolted and removed Yahya Khan. The new President ZA Bhutto 'carefully' chose Zia-ul-Haq whom he called as his 'monkey General' and who dutifully opened ZAB's car door whenever an opportunity presented. But, then, he not only grabbed power from him, but also hanged him. In her first term, ZAB's daughter, Pinky was thrown out by Pres. Ghulam Ishaq Khan under orders from COAS Mirza Aslam Beg. In her second term, she therefore appointed 'uncle' Farooq Leghari, a close family friend and a staunch PPP member, as the President, but he too dismissed her from power.
Nawaz chose Asif Nawaz Janjua as the COAS who was allegedly poisoned to death by Nawaz himself as he turned against him in handling the Afghan & Karachi situations. After Janjua's death, the 'mild-mannered' Waheed Kakkar was 'carefully chosen' but he forced his PM out with the help of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan (who was also eased out immediately by the same General). When Nawaz came to power a second time, he appointed the Tableeghi Jamaat member, Rafiq Tarar, as the President and mohajir Musharraf as his 'carefully chosen' COAS. Musharraf put Nawaz in solitary-confinement in Attock and later exiled him for ten years to the Desert Kingdom. Nawaz just escaped the same fate as ZAB due only to foreign intervention. Musharraf also threw Tarar out of his office. Musharraf himself was packed off by his 'carefully chosen' COAS Kiyani. Nawaz yet again chose Raheel Sharif over others and the balance tilted completely towards the military. The relationship between him and the COAS was very painful. He has chosen, after very careful consideration, another COAS who is claimed to be a "strong proponent of the army not intruding into civilian space." This also has to end in the same painful way for Nawaz because, *ALL*
his earlier four COAS appointees caused him immense pain.