23 January, 2021

Even His Epaulette Weighs Heavy

Gen Bajwa may be less of a military triumphalist, but, with his limited manoeuvrability before Islamists, he’ll continue to clean his yard and pet the useful jehadis.

Pomp And Swagger
Gen Qamar Bajwa takes over as army chief in Rawalpindi on November 29
Photograph by Getty Images
Even His Epaulette Weighs Heavy

Some men in uniform are born with destiny and others with a burden. No Napoleon here, Pakistan’s new army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, belongs to the latter category. A pending war on terror, a changing geo-political environment and a tense domestic environment—there is much that the new commander has to cater to.

An infantryman from 16th Baluch regiment, who earlier commanded Corps X and served in the UN peacekeeping mission, besides doing other assignments, his aura is less intense that that of his predecessor, Gen Raheel Sharif. One wonders if the period will be less tempestuous than that of his predecessor.

Notwithstanding his professional skills, Gen Bajwa is not in an enviable position. Besides the multiple external challenges, he has to come to terms with the domestic environment and his own vulnerabilities. The biggest test is to perhaps to bridge the gap between his institution and a civilian leadership that is feeling triumphant on being able to make its own choice for the army chief, rather than select the men Gen Sharif wanted. Surely,...



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