Although the president is his boss on paper, Pakistan’s chief of army staff is de facto the most powerful person in the nuclear-armed state. Javed Bajwa joins the world’s most powerful at a time when the relations between Pakistan and India is set to move northwards, partly thanks to his efforts. He has a difficult task of keeping peace in the state where terrorist groups are present while managing a complex relationship with India. Two years into his tenure as the head of the world’s sixth largest Army, Bajwa has established himself as a mediator and proponent of democracy.
‘De facto, the most powerful person in the nuclear-armed state’, ‘Mediator and proponent of democracy’ that is how Forbes magazine described Pakistan’s General while listing him at number 68 of world’s most powerful persons in 2018.
What Sets Him Apart?
General Bajwa has huge expertise in leading from the front, particularly in crucial regions like Baltistan and Kashmir. His approach towards Pakistan’s arch-rival and neighbour India remains passive yet firm which makes him a calm and composed General, who is ready to act pragmatically rather than being impulsive.
He has exhibited qualities of a thorough professional. He conscientiously kept aloof from politics throughout his career which further boosts his credentials as a real military general. Relevant details of this force to reckon with, are covered in succeeding paragraphs.
Tracing the Roots
General Qamar Javed Bajwa was born on 11th November 1960 in a small town of Ghakar Mandi of Gujranwala district in Pakistan. His father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pakistani army. General Qamar Bajwa is the youngest of five offsprings of Iqbal Bajwa. Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Iqbal Bajwa passed away while in service in 1967 in Quetta, Balochistan.
Bajwa’s father-in-law was also a distinguished Army officer who rose to the rank of a Major General. Bajwa completed his secondary and intermediate education from F. G. Sir Syed College and Gordon College in Rawalpindi before joining Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul in 62nd Long Course. Bajwa is an alumni of Canadian Army Command and Staff College in Canada, Naval Postgraduate School in the United States and National Defense University, Pakistan.
Brouhaha Prior to Taking over as Chief
A few days before being appointed as the Chief of Army Staff, a politician Sajid Meer alleged that General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his relatives follow the Ahmadi religion which started a controversy leading towards serious objections for his promotion as the chief. Lately, many people have been accused and persecuted in the country by religious scholars for following the Ahmadi sect.
Ahmadis are also known as Qadiyaanis who are the believers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiyaani. Constitution of Pakistan under the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, in 1974 declared Ahmadis as Non-Muslims for the first time in Pakistan which by far has not been changed in the constitution.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is the 10th and current Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistan Army since 29th November 2016. Bajwa was educated at the Sir Syed College and Gordon College in Rawalpindi prior to joining the Pakistan Military Academy in 1978. He was felicitated with Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Military) in 2007 and Nishan-e- Imtiaz (Military) in 2016. His achievements and important milestones in career are appended below:
- General Qamar Javed Bajwa was commissioned in 16th Baloch Regiment on 24th October 1980. This regiment alone has produced three out of the sixteen army chiefs in the past, namely:
- He is graduate of Canadian Forces Command and Staff College (Toronto) Canada, Naval Post Graduate University, Monterey ( California) the USA and National Defense University, Islamabad.
- He has also commanded Pakistan’s Contingent in Congo as part of the United Nations peacekeeping service.
- He has commanded Rawalpindi Corps and was serving Inspector General Training and Evaluation at GHQ.
- Former Indian Army chief, General Bikram Singh, praised General Qamar Javed Bajwa as a ‘true professional’.
Doctrine of a General
Myths are often woven around persons with aura and influence. It was, perhaps a first in the history of Pakistan when a term was coined to articulate a serving General’s thought process. “Bajwa doctrine” is a term used by some media circles and, indeed, by the Inter-Services Public Relations chief (DG-ISPR) himself in an interview with a TV channel.