General Qamar Javed Bajwa has become the first army chief of Pakistan to work with five prime ministers during his six-year tenure as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
Gen Bajwa, a four-star general of the Pakistan Army, was appointed to the highest military office as successor to General Raheel Sharif.
Gen Bajwa was appointed the COAS by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on November 29, 2016. He worked with Sharif until July 28, 2017 when the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified the latter in the Panama Papers case.
Since the PML-N saw Gen Bajwa as the man behind Sharif’s removal and its leaders said this publicly many times, Sharif had strained relations with Bajwa during his time in Prime Minister’s Office.
As Sharif, who was sworn in as 20th prime minister of Pakistan in 2013, was barred from holding any public office, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a senior leader of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was named the next prime minister of Pakistan.
Abbasi took oath as 21st prime minister of Pakistan on August 1, 2017 and continued in the office until May 31, 2018. So, Abbasi became the second prime minister to work with Gen Bajwa as chief of the Pakistan Army.
Since Abbasi was a close aide of Sharif and Sharif’s removal from prime minister’s office was fresh in his mind, his relations with Gen Bajwa didn’t have the usual warmth.
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At the end of the five-year tenure of the PML-N on May 31, 2018, Nasirul Mulk, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, was sworn in as the seventh caretaker prime minister of Pakistan on June 1 to oversee the 2018 General Elections. He continued in the office until August 18 and had no serious differences with Gen Bajwa in his less than three-month stint in the prime minister’s office.
Imran Khan became the fourth prime minister to work with Gen Bajwa as army chief after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won a thin majority in the 2018 General Elections. Khan, who was sworn in as 22nd prime minister of Pakistan on August 18, 2018, continued in office until April 10, 2022. He was removed through a vote of no-confidence.
Khan’s relations with Gen Bajwa were warm in the beginning, but started deteriorating in the second half of 2021 and led to Khan’s removal in 2022.
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A day after Khan’s removal from prime minister’s office, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was elected 23rd prime minister of Pakistan on April 11, 2022. So, Shehbaz Sharif has become the fifth prime minister to work with Gen Bajwa as the COAS.
Gen Bajwa, who is going to retire on November 29, 2022, will be replaced by Gen Asim Munir as Pakistan’s new chief of army staff.
On November 24, President Arif Alvi approved a summary sent by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, recommending General Asim Munir’s appointment as the next chief of army staff and General Sahir Shamshad Mirza’s appointment as the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).