Attempt made to create a stir in country by creating a fake and false narrative, COAS said during the Defence and Martyrs’ day ceremony at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
The Defence and Martyrs’ day ceremony was postponed in September due to the catastrophic floods across Pakistan following heavy monsoon rains.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid tribute to the martyrs of the armed forces and assured their families that the Pakistan Army will never leave the bereaved alone.
At the start of his last address as the army chief of the country, General Bajwa apologised for the delay in the Defence and Martyrs’ day ceremony due to the floods and reassured that the army will continue to fulfill their financial needs.
“Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to the martyrs who are the pride of Pakistan while acknowledging the patience of their bereaved families,” he said.
“I feel proud to have served as the commander of this great army for six years,” General Bajwa added.
Addressing the ceremony, COAS Qamar Bajwa said that he was delivering the last address as the army chief. “I am retiring after serving the Pak Army for 44 years. I salute the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the motherland,” he added.
The outgoing army chief touched upon history during his address, said that he wanted to “correct” some facts regarding the events of 1971.
“1971 was not a military, but a political failure. Our army fought courageously in East Pakistan,” the COAS stressed.
General Bajwa added that the basic job of the armed forces is to protect the geographical boundaries.
COAS said that armies around the world are seldom criticized, however, Pakistan Army is often subjected to criticism, he said, “I think reason for that is the army’s involvement in politics. That is why in February, the army decided to not interfere in politics.”
“Many people subjected the army to criticism and a false narrative was created to spread chaos in the country,” he said, reiterating that the military leadership can do anything except for going against the county.
COAS said the army had initiated its process of “catharsis” and expected that political parties would follow suit as well and reflect on their behaviour.
“This is the reality that there have been mistakes from every institution, including political parties and civil society, he said.
“No single party can take Pakistan out of the current economic crisis,” COAS said, adding that lessons should be learned from such mistakes so the nation could move forward.
The COAS went on to say that a true democratic culture has to be adopted in Pakistan by eradicating the climate of intolerance.
“In 2018, using RTS as an excuse the winning party was called selected,” he recalled, adding that after being ousted via a no-confidence motion one party named the other as “imported.”
“We need to reject this attitude, winning and losing is a part of politics and all parties should have courage to accept their defeat or victory so that in next election instead of an imported or selected government an elected government is formed,” Gen Bajwa maintained.
This was General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s last address as Pakistan’s COAS.
Prior to the ceremony, COAS laid a floral wreath at the Yadgar-e-Shuhda.
A large number of people, including relatives of the martyrs and serving and retired army officers attended the ceremony.
Rawalpindi Corps Commander Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza was also accompanied him.
The address comes just six days before he is set to retire from the post of Pakistan’s army chief on November 29.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed army chief in 2016 for a three-year tenure, which was extended by three years in after parliament legislated on the tenures of services chiefs on the orders of the Supreme Court.
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