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Saturday 25 January 2020

Bajwa service extension worries Pakistani opposition

Prime Minister Imran Khan extended the term of Bajwa for another three years by in view of the "regional security environment"

Lahore: Pakistan’s Opposition parties on Monday said the three-year extension given to Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will not be viewed favourably and will send a wrong message that the Army is dependent on “one or two individuals”.

Bajwa’s term has been extended for another three years by Prime Minister Imran Khan in view of the “regional security environment”.

General Bajwa, 58, who was appointed as the Chief of Army Staff by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016, was to retire in November.

Commenting on the move, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Farhatullah Babar said, “Extensions in service are not advisable and should not be viewed favourably. Extensions adversely impact the career prospects of scores of officers in the hierarchy and consequently their morale.”

Army, Bajwa said, is a strong institution and “strong institutions do not depend on individuals, no matter howsoever competent and brilliant”.

“It is not a good message to send across that the institution of the army is dependent on one or two individuals,” he said.

The PML-N, another opposition party, however, was cautious in its reaction to extension of Bajwa.

“We cannot comment on this at the moment. It is better if Prime Minister Khan is asked about this,” PML-N senator and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s close aide Mushahidullah Khan said in response to a question on the extension to the army chief.

Recently, Pakistan Army had said that the authorities have taken up the issue of suspension of some Twitter and Facebook accounts posting about the Kashmir issue with the social media giants.

Four Twitter handles were suspended for allegedly spreading anti-India propaganda on Jammu and Kashmir following a request by security agencies, Indian officials had said in New Delhi. Four more social media accounts are expected to be blocked soon for allegedly being engaged in similar activities, they had said.

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