COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa – Biography

One of the highest serving officers of the Pakistan Army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa was born on 11 November 1960 in Karachi to a Punjabi Jat family. On 29 November 2016, he became the 10th Chief of Army Staff. He is scheduled to retire in November 2022. Bajwa is a recipient of two of Pakistan’s most prestigious civilian awards – Hilal Imtiaz (M) and Nishan Imtiaz (M) for his outstanding services and contributions to the country.

His family belongs to Gukhar Mandi city of Gujranwala district. He did his college education from Gordon College and FG Sir Syed College, Rawalpindi before getting commissioned in the Pakistan Army. Then, he passed his training from Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul in 1980 and was commissioned in 16th Battalion of Baloch Regiment.

His family hails from Gakhar Mandi city of Gujranwala district. Before earning a commission in the Pakistan Army, he received his college education from Rawalpindi’s Gordon College and FG Sir Syed College. Then, he passed his training from the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul, in 1980 and was commissioned in the 16th Battalion of the Baloch Regiment.

Upbringing and schooling

Father of Qamar Javed Bajwa, Muhammed Iqbal Bajwa passed away while serving as an officer of Pakistan Army in Quetta in 1967. Bajwa, the youngest among his siblings, was seven-year-old at that time. Their mother brought them up, who passed away in 2013.

After completing his matric and second year education from Rawalpindi’s F G Sir Syed College and Grodon College, he joined the Pakistan Army in 1978 and passed out from the PMA in 1980 with the class of 62nd PMA Long Course.

Qamar Javed is a graduate of the National Defence University, Islamabad. He also attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and the Canadian Army Command and Staff College. He has two sons from his wife Ayesha — Saad and Ali. Father of Bajwa’s wife Ijaz Ahmed is a retired major general of Pakistan Army.

Occupational engagements

Qamar Javed Bajwa was commissioned as the second lieutenant on October 24, 1980, in the 16th Baloch Regiment at the Sialkot Cantonment, the unit where his father had commanded.

As a major, he served in the 5th Northern Light Infantry in Azad Kashmir in 1988 for a short time. Then, as a lieutenant colonel, he served as a staff officer of the X Corps in Rawalpindi. After that, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier and he served at the X Corps as the chief of staff (COS).

Brigadier Qamar Javed commanded the Pakistan Armed Forces’ Africa Command, under the UN peacekeeping mission, in Congo. He served as the brigade commander under an Indian officer, the then major general Bikram Singh, the former chief of the army staff of the Indian Army, who termed the Pakistani officer’s performance as “professional and outstanding”.

Later, he was promoted to the rank of major general and was given the command of the Force Command Northern Areas division as its GOC in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Bajwa was conferred upon with the Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military) in August 2011 and posted as an instructor at the School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta. Later, he completed staff course at Command and Staff College in Quetta, and a course on national security at the National Defence University, Islamabad.

Major General Qamar Bajwa was posted as field commander of the X Corps in Rawalpindi, during this time he served as Grade-I officer. His thrice appointment in X Corps, the most important and largest corps, caught media attention, for he also had an experience of controlling the situation along the LoC.

In 2014, Lt-Gen. Bajwa was appointed as Colonel Commandant of the Baloch Regiment.

On 22 September 2015, Lt-Gen. Bajwa was posted in the General Headquarters as the Inspector-General of the Training and Evaluation (IGT&E). There he served as the principal staff officer to the then army chief, General Raheel Sharif.

Army chief

General Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed as the army chief by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif on November 29, 2016, after General Raheel Sharif rejected the rumours of seeking an extension. Earlier, Lt General Zubair Hayat and Lt General Javed Ramday were being rumoured as the candidates for the top army post, but Sharif chose the fourth in seniority for the office.

In December 2016, he was conferred upon with the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military).

General Qamar Bajwa launched counter-terrorism Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and Khyber-4 in February 2017 and July 2017 respectively.

In October 2018, Bajwa was awarded the Order of the Military Merit by Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

On August 19, 2019, the then prime minister Imran Khan extended his tenure as army chief for another three years, starting from November 2019 till November 2022. However, on November 26, 2019, the Supreme Court suspended the entire extension. On November 28, 2019, the apex court announced an order allowing a six-month extension in Bajwa’s term, during which the parliament was to legislate on the extension/ reappointment of an army chief. On January 8, 2020, the Senate passed the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2020, allowing for Bajwa’s tenure extension up to three years till November 2022.

Bajwa’s philosophy

The Royal United Services Institute coined the term ‘Bajwa Doctrine’, after Bajwa’s address to the 54th Munich Security Conference. The doctrine was explained in detail by journalist Suhail Warraich in his articles for The News International.

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Bajwa is fond of reading and has ample interest in the history of Europe. He loves playing cricket and would play as a wicket-keeper.

General Bajwa has a good knowledge of Indian strategic ambitions in the region and experience of armed conflict on the LoC. He thinks that extremism is the key driving force for terrorism, therefore, he wants to eradicate it. He has urged the nation, especially the youth, to fight extremism.

In 2018, Forbes magazine ranked him 68th on The World’s Most Powerful People list. The magazine also called him the most powerful person in Pakistan who “established himself as a mediator and proponent of democracy”.

Thia article previously published in Bol News

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