On Friday, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said that he will not be seeking a further tenure extension and that the military has decided to stay out of politics.
In his speech at a security workshop in Islamabad, the army chief made the statements. The COAS reportedly remarked that the army has opted to continue remaining “apolitical” to media present at the workshop.
On November 29, the COAS will retire, and he won’t ask to retain his position. Imran Khan, the former prime minister, extended Gen. Bajwa’s service by three years in November 2019 and gave this reason for his decision: the regional security environment and its challenges.
General Bajwa’s statement comes on the same day as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified PTI chairman Imran Khan in the Toshakhana (gift depository) reference.
His comments reflect similar ones he made earlier this month when he assured the nation that the army had removed itself from politics and wanted to maintain that distance.
The COAS reiterated his prior pledge to step down when his second three-year term ends in November during a lunch held at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, DC, and said that he will keep his word.
According to those in attendance, the COAS addressed the gathering before lunch and then made casual remarks while speaking with the guests. He emphasized that reviving Pakistan’s struggling economy should be everyone’s top priority since the country cannot fulfill its goals without a robust economy.