Army Chief-designate General Qamar Bajwa will assume command of the Pakistan Army from General Raheel Sharif at a ceremony which is taking place at the General Headquarters(GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

Gen Raheel Sharif reviewed the guard of honour. Speaking at the ceremony prior to handing over the baton of command to Gen Bajwa, Sharif said, "Today i thank God who gave me the opportunity to serve in the world's best army. To achieve our goals, I used the full force of the Pakistani army. I had the entire country's cooperation for which I thank the the army and the nation." He added that he has a firm belief in the Pak Army and he knows that they will always live up to the nation's expectations.

Talking about Pakistan's battle with terrorism he said that everyone has sacrificed for the land.

"I pay my tribute to those who have lost their lives for this nation. We were able to change the face of history by fighting a war against terrorism," he added.

He thanked the federal government, political leadership and the media for their cooperation.

The outgoing army chief stressed that all institutions need to work together against external threats.

He added that India's aggressive tactics in the past months have kept the area under pressure of looming violence but India should know that taking our policy of patience as weakness would be dangerous.

Gen Raheel Sharif and Gen Bajwa entring the ceremony. — DawnNews
Gen Raheel Sharif and Gen Bajwa entring the ceremony. — DawnNews

A military band kickstarted the ceremony with a number of patriotic tunes.

Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif and Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb and Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq are also in attendance.

Before the ceremony, General Raheel laid a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada.

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.

Former army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. — DawnNews
Former army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. — DawnNews


Khawaja Asif at the ceremony. —DawnNews
Khawaja Asif at the ceremony. —DawnNews

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.

Gen Bajwa was considered as a dark horse in the race for the army’s command and has now superseded Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain (chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila), Lt Gen Najibullah Khan (DG Joint Staff Headquarters), Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed (Corps Commander Multan) and Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday (Corps Commander Bahawalpur).

The succession may not immediately bring about a major change in policies, but it could still have important implications for ties with India and Afgha­nistan, and domestically for the civil-military equation and the ongoing fight against terrorism.

The army chief-designate is credited with having 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.

This experience could prove invaluable as he takes command amidst serious escalation on the LoC, which saw some of the intense skirmishes since 2003.

On a personal level, Gen Bajwa is said to be witty, accessible, well-connected with the troops and not fond of the limelight.

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.