General Qamar Javed Bajwa officially took charge as the 16th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) during the Change of Command ceremony underway at Army Hockey Stadium near General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. General Bajwa takes charge as Pakistan's 16th army chief.
The outgoing army chief, General Raheel Sharif on Monday spent his last day in office completing a round of farewell meetings. The main activity at the General Headquarters ahead of Tuesday’s ceremony was the farewell corps commanders’ conference.
The conference was attended by COAS-designate Gen Bajwa, corps commanders and principal staff officers. According to the Inter Services Public Relations, they “paid rich tribute to General Raheel Sharif for his leadership and professional acumen and lauded his services for the country”.
Speaking at the conference, Gen Sharif thanked the commanders for assisting him in execution of his duties during his tenure. He also visited the ISI Headquarters in Islamabad to pay tribute to “the sacrifices and successes” of the spy agency “in fighting terrorism and strengthening the defence of the motherland”.
Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, a career infantry officer belonging to the Baloch Regiment, was chosen as Pakistan's next Chief of Army Staff and Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) on Saturday.
Gen Bajwa will be promoted to the rank of a four-star general and will take up his new post from Tuesday, the day the current army chief Raheel Sharif retires. Gen Bajwa was previously posted as the Inspector General for Training and Evaluation at the General Headquarters, the same post held by Gen Raheel Sharif before he took over as army chief.
General Bajwa's Army Career
Bajwa, who was commissioned in the 16 Baloch Regiment in October 1980, is a graduate of Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Canada, and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
The army chief-designate has spent a considerable part of his military service in the Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps, which is responsible for guarding the Line of Control (LoC).
However, his time at the 10 Corps was a period of relative quiet following the 2003 ceasefire accord. He 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.