Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Friday he would retire in five weeks and would not seek an extension of service, according to a news outlet.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will choose the new army chief after General Bajwa’s term ends on November 29.
The government has announced that his successor will be appointed in due course and in accordance with the Constitution, Geo TV reported.
Citing unnamed sources, the channel reported that General Bajwa said on Friday he would not seek an extension and would retire after five weeks.
Bajwa, who held Pakistan’s top military post for six years, also said the military would play no role in politics.
He was initially appointed in 2016 but after three years in office, the then government of Imran Khan in 2019 extended his service for another three years.
In September, former Prime Minister Imran Khan said General Bajwa should be given another extension until the new government is elected, while reiterating calls for early elections.
Speculation swirled that he might get another term after he met Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif in London earlier this month.
However, that seems unlikely now.
The appointment of the army chief is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister and it is perhaps the only time his verdict has been accepted by the mighty army without any ifs or none.
The upcoming nomination is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
When Khan was in power, the opposition accused him of trying to bring in an army chief of his choosing who could support his alleged agenda of victimizing opposition leaders.
Since he lost power in April this year the equation has changed and now Khan says the coalition government wants to install an army chief of their choice to protect looted wealth and steal the general election.
Whatever the political significance of the rival rhetoric, the fact is that an army commander is rarely a silent spectator of the political games in the country.
The mighty military, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75-plus years, has so far wielded considerable power in security and foreign policy.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)