Qamar Javed Bajwa
Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, was handed a three-year extension on Monday as tension with neighbouring India flared this month over the disputed territory of Kashmir, the prime minister's office said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday approved a three-year extension in the tenure of Bajwa. As per a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office, the decision has been "taken in view of the regional security environment.” Bajwa's tenure was due to end in November but analysts have long predicted the extension.
Pakistan observed a 'Black Day' on Thursday to coincide with India's Independence Day celebrations. Newspaper issues had black borders and politicians, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, replaced their social media pictures with black squares. Flags on government buildings flew at half-mast.
Since Saturday there has been a series of protests against the decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government to revoke the autonomy of India's only Muslim-majority region.
Officials said security forces had been pelted with stones on 47 occasions on Saturday night in the Kashmir Valley, and more than 20 on Sunday. One said the protests were growing more intense.
Bajwa was appointed as the army chief on Nov.26, 2016 by Nawaz Sharif as prime minister. He took over command of Pakistan's military from General Raheel Sharif, despite being fourth in order of seniority.
Born in Gakhar Mandi, Gujranwala, Gen Bajwa was commissioned on Oct.24, 1980 in the 16 Baloch Regiment, the battle-hardened force that in the past has given three army chiefs, including Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Bajwa is a graduate of Canadian Forces Command and Staff College-Toronto, Naval Post Graduate University-Monterey, California and National Defence University (NDU)-Islamabad.
He has been an instructor at the School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta, Command and Staff College, Quetta and the NDU. Bajwa has also been Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade and Chief of Staff of Rawalpindi Corps. He has commanded the 16 Baloch Regiment, an Infantry
Brigade as well as Infantry Division in Northern Areas. He had also commanded Pakistan Contingent in Congo, where he worked alongside the former Indian army chief General Bikram Singh, who described Bajwa as an ‘outstanding and professional soldier’.
Before being made the army chief, Bajwa was serving as the Inspector General Training and Evaluation at the General Headquarters (QHQ), the same post his predecessor General Raheel Sharif was holding before his appointment as army chief in November 2013.
Having served as corps commander of Rawalpindi, Bajwa has vast experience of dealing with issues related to Kashmir and the Line of Control.
Imran's comments come a day after Pakistan accused India of using illegal cluster bombs, killing two civilians and wounding 11, in the disputed Kashmir region. India denied it had used such weapons.
The premier's message came as the curfew and communications blackout imposed by New Delhi in Kashmir entered its 12th day. Aug.15 is also India's Independence Day, which is being observed as a black day across Pakistan to protest the brutalities in Kashmir.
His reaction came after the Indian government earlier in the day decided to revoke Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
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