Some early views on Gen. Bajwa’s selection.
Agreed the Chief’s selection is a tough choice for the PM.
Given the fractious civil military relations and the large number of skeletons in the politicians cupboards ( not that there aren’t plenty in the military ones) the prime consideration over all others for the PM would be to chose someone who is unlikely to take over.
The second, as we all know, is the ability to get along and be trusted.
And then comes competence.
By the way these factors are also mostly true for the corporate world as well.
So Gen. Bajwa’s choice ticked all three.
He is known to be against Army interference in the civilian political sphere.
He is known to be an affable and easy to get along chap.
And he is also very competent.
Lt. Gen. Ishfaq Nadeem, from what one has read and heard, was apparently the brightest and professionally most sound.
But two things cost him the job.
He was perceived as the main architect behind GRS’s earlier push, in his first eighteen months, to cleanse and reform the political system, via NAP, in parallel to Zarbe Azb and being quite blunt and forthright in presenting his views to the civilian leadership.
The second was getting soiled in the murky drama of the 2014 Dharna, in which he was completely innocent. But by innuendo and rumour, his goose was cooked and hence the change from CGS to Corps Commander.
Personally he would have been my personal choice for the position.
But I’m not the PM!
According to someone who has known Gen. Bajwa for over 36 years and very closely at that, has this to say about him.
*He is balanced, sensible, a good listener and seeks consensus and involves others. Intellectually fairly sharp and insightful. Very personable and easy to get along with and mingles easily with officers and troops. Is not protocol conscious. Great sense of humour. Will go after sectarian terror outfits and will make a good Chief*.
In my opinion.
On Dawn Leaks and Panama.
My personal view is that he has bigger things to fry such as consolidating his command. Making new appointments.
And most importantly, likely focus on the immediate and urgent issues of command, strategy and operations, given India’s belligerence, and establish his writ as Chief.
So, likely, will let Dawn leaks and Panama take their natural course and not interfere.
Fight against terror will be his top priority, including and especially crackdown on sectarian terror putfits.
It seems that he will likely keep the Army away from any overt political interference.
Any intrusive moves into the civilian space, if at all, will happen about 12 months down the line, closer to the elections.
Whether he succeeds is another matter, of course.
Much as my “Hun” blood calls for the storming of the Bastille, unfortunately the vector of such interventions in the country, eventually heads South.
We’re in the thick of very complex existential challenges, in addition to the corrosion caused by corrupt and incompetent governance.
The military lead war on terror is midway and far from over. The rise of miltant sectarian outfits and the challenges in Balochistan, both actively fanned by India will become very intense, as will the belligerence from across the LOC.
Afghanistan will be a serious thorn with aggressive American backing, more aggressive now, with Trump in the saddle.
All those who want the CPEC to fail will continue to fan the flames of our fractious internal fault lines, including destabilizing Karachi.
These fault lines, sectarian, religious, ethnic, linguistic, economic, social, will and are being fully exploited to bring us to heel.
And on top we have these terrible jokers governing Pakistan.
I think Gen. Bajwa’s hands are full. His plate overflowing and it’s important that we address the more urgent and serious.
Of course, it goes without saying that our most deep rooted solution lies in deep systemic change in our electoral and governance structures.
And for that to happen, its the people and not the Army, who mus force this change!