Army has started its catharsis, I hope political parties will also reflect on their behavior: COAS

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Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, in what was likely his final public address as the army chief on Wednesday, criticised the anti-military narrative and urged political stakeholders to move forward for the country’s sake.

The army chief made these remarks during his speech at the Defence and Martyrs day ceremony, which is held annually at the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi on September 6 to commemorate the sacrifices of fallen heroes of the 1965 war. However, it was postponed this year in solidarity with flood victims across the country and rescheduled for today.

 Corps Commander Rawalpindi, Lt-Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza alongside outgoing army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — DawnNewsTV
Corps Commander Rawalpindi, Lt-Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza alongside outgoing army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — DawnNewsTV

“Today, I am addressing the Defence and Martyrs Day as the army chief for the last time,” Gen Bajwa, who is set to retire by the end of the month, said at the start of his speech. “I am retiring soon. This time, this [ceremony is being held] after some delay.”

He dedicated a major portion of his speech to political matters, saying that he often wondered that the Indian army did the most human rights violations in the world but “their people seldom make them the target of criticism”.

“In contrast to that, our army which day and night remains busy in serving the nation is often made the subject of criticism,” he said. “A major reason for this is the army’s interference in politics for the last 70 years which is unconstitutional.

“This is why in February last year the army, after great deliberation, decided that it would never interfere in any political matter. I assure you we are strictly adamant on this and will remain so.”

‘False narrative was created, from which an escape is now sought’

The army chief said that instead of welcoming the military’s decision, “many sectors used very inappropriate and undignified language while making the army the target of severe criticism.”

“To criticise the army is the right of [political] parties and the people, but the language used [should be careful],” he said.

Gen Bajwa said that a “false narrative was created”, from which “an escape is now being attempted”.

He said the army had initiated its process of “catharsis” and expected that political parties would follow suit as well and reflect on their behaviour. “This is the reality that there have been mistakes from every institution, including political parties and civil society.”

The COAS said that lessons should be learned from such mistakes so the nation could move forward.

‘Time’s come for political stakeholders to set aside ego, move forward’

Gen Bajwa said the country was facing “serious economic” issues and no one party could take the country out of the financial crisis.

“Political stability is mandatory and the time has come for all political stakeholders to set aside their ego, learn from past mistakes, move forward and take Pakistan out of this crisis.”

He stressed the need for the nation to shed intolerance and adopt a “true democratic culture”.

Gen Bajwa rued the political parties’ criticism, first after the 2018 general elections and then again following the successful vote of no confidence this year, recalling that whoever lost branded the other as either “selected” or “imported”.

“We need to reject this behaviour,” he said. “Victory and defeat are part of politics and every party will have to develop the strength to accept its victory as well as defeat so an elected government comes in the next election instead of an imported or selected one.”

He said that if Pakistan wanted to move forward then it would need to shun intolerance and the attitude of “I don’t accept”.

The COAS lauded the sacrifices of martyrs and praised their families, saying that the army would “continue to serve and protect the country”.

At the onset of the event, a tribute video was played about the recent catastrophic floods in the country and the scale of destruction they caused. The video also showcased the military’s rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts.

‘East Pakistan was a political failure, not military one’

Gen Bajwa also discussed the army’s performance and actions in Bangladesh during the 1971 civil war, which said were topics that most people avoided.

“I want to correct some facts here. Firstly, former East Pakistan was a political failure and not a military one,” he said.

He said the number of soldiers fighting was not 92,000 but 34,000 and the others were in different government departs. He added that these 34,000 soldiers were confronted by an Indian army of 250,000 soldiers and 200,000 members of the Mukti Bahini.

“Against these heavy odds, our army fought bravely and gave exemplary sacrifices which were acknowledged by Indian army chief field marshal Manekshaw.”

He said the nation had yet not owned up to these sacrifices which was a “great injustice”. “Taking advantage of this occasion I salute these martyrs and will continue to do so. They are our heroes and the nation should be proud of them,” Bajwa added.

Gen Bajwa will be retiring by the end of the month after commanding the army for six years. He was appointed army chief in 2016 for a three-year tenure, which was extended by three years in after parliament legislated on the tenures of services chiefs on the orders of the Supreme Court.

Dawn

Merit: unemployed students would not be forced to migrate to the European and Middle Eastern states.

By Tehreem Ellahi

If we look around in our society we will notice that there are many problems and finding out their solutions is not an easy job as it needs a lot of courage and constant hard work to look deeper into the root cause of any problem, So I decided to write about the most common problem which we as a nation face on an everyday basis and that is lack of Merit.

This issue really needs to be brought to our attention as it creates lots of problems in our beloved country Pakistan, furthermore there is also a lack of a system to implement things according to merit which creates disappointment among the young generation. So when a well-educated student, try to seek a reasonable job according to his/her qualification they face severe insecurities and disappointment due to lack of Merit which makes them think that Pakistan is not a good enough place for their secure future, and keeping in view the current financial position of Pakistan this culture of favoritism and lack of merit could cause us to go bankrupt.   

In order to address this problem, the government of Pakistan should provide job opportunities to the young generations on a merit basis so that the unemployed intelligent students would not be forced to migrate to the European and Middle Eastern states in the search of jobs.

The situation is even crueler for those unemployed middle classed generation who are not financially strong enough to afford the migration therefore, they are forced to stay unemployed in Pakistan, and they face severe difficulty to manage even the basic necessities of their life.

This is the prime responsibility of the policymaker institution of Pakistan to address this problem of lack of considering merit during the hiring and recruitment process because it creates disastrous impact in multiple forms, Firstly, the deserving candidate did not get their due right, and secondly, the less competent person hired on the basis of reference and favoritism lacks the required skills and capabilities to perform their job with justice, hence creating hindrance in the way of progress and prosperity.

The process of hiring and recruitment needs to be reformed so that there should be a proper system and rules and regulations to be followed, only then we will be able to select the candidates on the basis of merit and the well-deserving candidate will get their due right.

Similarly, it’s really important to take initiative to discourage favoritism from our society as no country can make any progress without improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its departments which rely on suitable and capable Human resources hired through transparent means. This is the ultimate way to provide a secure future to the coming generations and to put the nation on the way to prosperity. Reforming our hiring process and making it transparent would also give our youth the required security and mental peace so that they can focus on their present without the fear of the future.

Multiple people, including gunman, dead in shooting at US store

Several people were killed and others were injured in a shooting at a Walmart store in Chesapeake, Virginia, on Tuesday night, and the shooter is dead, Chesapeake police said.

The outburst of gun violence in the city of Chesapeake comes just before Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, and follows another mass shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado late on Saturday that left five people dead.

At 10:12pm, police responded to a report of a shooting inside a Walmart, public information officer Leo Kosinski said in a media briefing, adding that “less than 10” people were dead but declining to give the exact number.

It was not clear whether the shooter, who has not been identified, died of self-inflicted injuries. Kosinski said no shots were fired at police “to his knowledge”.

“Chesapeake police confirm an active shooter incident with fatalities at the Walmart on Sam’s Circle. The shooter is deceased,” the City of Chesapeake said.

Walmart said in a statement early on Wednesday that it was “shocked” at the incident at its Chesapeake store, and that it was working closely with law enforcement.

“We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates,” the company said on Twitter.

A spokesperson for Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, which has the area’s top trauma center, told local television station WAVY that five patients were being treated there.

The police department did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

‘Senseless violence

Virginia state Senator Louise Lucas, who represents the region, said she was “absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district in Chesapeake, Virginia tonight”.

“I will not rest until we find the solutions to end this gun violence epidemic in our country that has taken so many lives,” she said on Twitter.

The shooting occurred at a major retailer less than 48 hours before Americans nationwide celebrate Thanksgiving.

“Tragically, our community is suffering from yet another incident of senseless gun violence just as families are gathering for Thanksgiving,” tweeted US congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia.

Gun violence occurs at an alarming rate in the United States, where more than 600 mass shootings have occurred so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

PM Office receives summary for top military appointments

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Wednesday morning confirmed that it had received the summary from the Ministry of Defence with a “panel of names” for the appointment of the new chief of army staff (COAS) and the chairman joint chief of staff committee (CJCSC).

“The prime minister will take a decision on the appointments as per the laid down procedure,” the early morning statement said.

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted the same late on Tuesday night, saying that the summary had been forwarded to the PMO from the defense ministry. “The rest of the steps will be completed soon,” he said.

The development comes hours after the military confirmed that it had dispatched the summary to the defense ministry.

https://www.dawn.com/news/card/1722534

Although multiple ministers spent Tuesday denying the impression that the summary had been received by the PMO, the brief missive from Inter-Services Pub­lic Relations simply stated: “GHQ has forwarded the summary for selection of CJCSC and COAS, containing names of 6 senior most Lt Gens, to MoD.”

Although the communique did not mention which six names have been forwarded, it is believed that the six men currently in the running to be the next chief of army staff are (in order of seniority) Lt Gen Asim Munir (currently Quarter Master General), Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza (Commander 10 Corps), Lt Gen Azhar Abbas (Chief of General Staff), Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood (NDU Presi­dent), Lt Gen Faiz Hamid (Commander Baha­walpur Corps), and Lt Gen Mohammad Amir (Com­mander Gujranwala Corps).

Earlier, participating in a TV talk show, the defence minister said there were no differences between the army and government and the concerns being expressed by various quarters in that regard were unfounded.

A day earlier, several PML-N leaders, including for­mer prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, had indicated that the army was impeding the process.

But the defence minister said he had conveyed to Abbasi that his concerns would be allayed.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is, moreover, expected to hold a consultation with outgoing army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday on the selection of his successor. It is a convention that the prime minister holds this discussion with the outgoing chief, however, it is described as “informal consultation”.

A special meeting of the federal cabinet has also been convened for Thursday to deliberate on the appointments. The government had earlier planned to complete the process by Friday.

The prime minister would after making the choice advise President Arif Alvi to appoint the general as the next army chief. It remains to be seen if the president would agree with the advice or send it back for reconsideration.