Pakistan army chief gets three-year extension

Pakistan army chief gets three-year extension
In this March 23, 2017 file photo, Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrives to attend the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 August 2019

Pakistan army chief gets three-year extension

Pakistan army chief gets three-year extension
  • Bajwa's tenure was due to end in November but analysts have long predicted the extension
  • The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment, says the official statement

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, was handed a three-year extension on Monday as tension with neighboring India flared this month over the disputed territory of Kashmir, the prime minister's office said.
The two nuclear-armed countries have exchanged fire along the disputed line of control (LoC) that separates Pakistani and Indian sides of Kashmir following India's decision to revoke special status for its portion of Kashmir.
"The decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment," the prime minister's office said in a statement announcing the decision.
Bajwa's tenure was due to end in November but analysts have long predicted the extension.
Relations between Pakistan and India had already been strained after a suicide car bombing in February that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-administered Kashmir and led to an aerial dogfight between Pakistani and Indian jets.
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.
During Bajwa's tenure the military has been accused by opposition politicians of electoral manipulation to bring Prime Miniter Imran Khan to power. Media outlets have also complained about strong restrictions on free speech.
The military, which has ruled Pakistan for nearly half its 72-year history, has denied interfering in politics or muzzling the media