PM, COAS discuss national security

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Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain at the PM House and the Presidency respectively.

Issues pertaining to national security were discussed in Gen Bajwa’s separate meetings with the premier and the president.

The president asked the COAS to continue the military Operation Zarb-i-Azb until its objectives were achieved. He further advised Gen Bajwa to continue working with the National Action Plan.

Expressing his confidence in the leadership of General Bajwa, the president said the COAS will meet the nation’s expectations for the country’s defence.

Gen Bajwa meets Chinese counterpart

China’s People Liberation Army General Zhao Zongqi visited GHQ today and met Gen Bajwa to discuss regional security issues.

Gen Zongqi lauded Pakistan Army’s “achievements” in fighting terrorism and its continual efforts to stabilise the region, the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

Gen Bajwa “reaffirmed Pakistan Army’s unwavering support for CPEC’s security”, the statement added.

The visiting dignitary was presented with a guard of honour.

To pay homage to the “martyrs” of Pakistan Army, the Chinese general laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-i-Shuhada, the ISPR statement said.

Bajwa’s ascension

Bajwa recently took over as the country’s new army chief, with Prime Minister Nawaz appointing the COAS in the hope of stabilising the fragile civil-military balance.

The appointment was set in motion by the impending retirement of incumbent army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and put to rest feverish speculation regarding who would succeed Gen Raheel Sharif — the first army chief to retire on time in around two decades.

While the office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (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.

Gen Bajwa’s relatively more moderate view of the relationship with the civilian government, it is said, proved to be the decisive factor in PM Sharif’s decision to pick him for the position.

One of Gen Bajwa’s former commanding officers told Dawn the COAS-designate is a strong proponent of the army not intruding into civilian space.

Under the watch of the outgoing army chief, the civil-military balance of power had titled more in military’s favour.

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