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RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said the army has distanced itself from the politics and its role has been restricted to constitutional mandate.

In an interview with Gulf News, he said, “We have restricted the Army’s role to its constitutional mandated task only by deciding to make it apolitical.” He said this decision will facilitate in reinvigorating and strengthening democratic culture, assist in supporting state organs to effectively perform and deliver and help enhance the army’s prestige in the long term.

The Army Chief said the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast. He was confident this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the Army-to-people bond.

“Pakistan Army has always remained a dominant player in national decision-making. Due to its historic role in country’s politics, the military drew severe criticism from public and politicians alike,” COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa said. We have restricted the army’s role to its constitutional mandated task only by deciding to make it apolitical.

This decision, though being viewed negatively by a segment of society and led to personal criticism, but it will help enhance the army’s prestige in the long term, the outgoing COAS said.

COAS Bajwa urges stakeholders to sit together, resolve differences

COAS Bajwa said Pakistan Army has enjoyed the unmatched respect and trust of Pakistani Nation throughout our history. Army’s positive and constructive role in Pakistan’s National Security and development has always received unwavering public support.

On ties with the Middle East countries, COAS Bajwa said Pakistan enjoys a special bond and fraternal ties with GCC and other Middle Eastern countries. Pakistan, on its part, has always supported the strategic interests of our Middle Eastern friends and would continue to do so in the future, General Bajwa said.

Outgoing army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said the Pakistan Army would implement on its decision and remain determined to remain apolitical despite “negative propaganda” and “misleading narrative”.

“The armed forces have always played its role in overcoming internal conflicts and that the forces also maintained balance in the international politics through military diplomacy,” he said. He was of the view that some elements criticised the army for being apolitical, but this tradition army of being apolitical will help democracy prevail and flourish in Pakistan and promote political stability.

He urged the youth to shield themselves from divisive propaganda and information warfare that seeks to polarize our society and erode mutual trust. Pakistan should always come first before any other marker of identity

Responding to a question, the Army Chief said Pakistan enjoys a special bond and fraternal ties with GCC and other Middle Eastern countries, which is deep-rooted in our strong religious, historical and cultural affinity. Our traditional ties with brotherly Arab states transcend beyond any cost-benefit calculus.

The Army Chief said military diplomacy is complementary to Pakistan’s foreign policy and plays its due role in fostering Pakistan’s bilateral relations with other countries, including in the Middle Eastern region. He said our intimate engagements with the Arab countries at the leadership level have continuously helped nurture the long-standing ties and translate them into practical cooperation in areas of common interests.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa said Pakistan has always desired peaceful and friendly relations with neighboring Iran and tried to maintain a positive working relationship with it.

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