Leadership Defined – Eight Months of COAS

(Sadia qazi, Gilgit)

Those who work hard in silence and let their success make the noise are the real heroes that revel to create substantial impact with their unwavering capabilities and unmatched ample perseverance. Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is such a hero who has proven his worth and competencies in a diminutive period and has exhibited his potentials of grit and insight.

It has been eight months since Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed as the COAS, one of the most highly prestigious and powerful positions in Pakistan. It is never easy to hold office of such responsibility especially when the predecessor has set such high bars of expectations. Gen (r) Raheel Sharif has been an acclaimed asset of Pakistan and has served to be not only a great leader for the Pakistan Army but has also been a cherished lead for whole of the nation. Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has manifestly sustained the legacy of the former but also set new bars of committed excellence by being low profile but firm with describing decisions.

One of the reasons for his appointment as a COAS was his pro democratic track record. And it has been witnessed that despite Pakistan experiencing political fluctuations, COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has strengthened the democracy scenario and let the democracy get mature and run its course with upholding the constitution prime and supreme. The pro-democracy standing of COAS has added to mark political stability and washed away any concerns that shadowed otherwise.

Dawn leaks has been a sensitive issue and demanded a solution which was handled with subtle amicability. An intense fallout of the Dawn leaks story and the committed follow-up by the Army and COAS has led to investigation of the matter and dismissal of the responsible was realized. It is clearly the standing of the COAS at not surrendering the issue that led to set an example to adhere to the ethical norms of journalism and exhibited the vivid message that any attempt to malign the institutions of Pakistan, especially the Armed Forces, will not be dealt with leniency.

Another recent delicate matter sparked after the unfortunate terrorist attack in Parachinar where the bomb blasts claimed more than 80 precious lives while injuring another 200. After the bomb blasts in Parachinar, a large gathering of people observed a sit-in as a protest against the terrorist attacks in a Shia dominated area and demanded a profound action against the culprits. Such a terrorist attack is targeted to disrupt the sectarian concord in the expanse and exploit the situation adding fuel to the fire. In this delicate matter COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Parachinar to offer condolences to the grieving families. Furthermore he also held a meeting with the tribal elders and the families of the victims to resolve the anger that led to the sit-in situation and diminish the anguish of the community. It was indeed a sensitive issue but the elders and families exhibited their faith and support with the Pakistan Army and its leadership. The local elders and the victim families resolved that they are Pakistanis and Muslims only and their blood is for Pakistan. It is creditable for the COAS to be able to restore assurance and unity amongst the community.

The Pak-Afghan relations have perceived vacillations in the past as the terrorism remains the core issue disrupting the peace at both sides. COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa cited to extend its support with Afghanistan in order to eradicate the cancer of terrorism and to deal with the issue with utmost support and resilience. And Pakistan Army will extend coordinated efforts with Afghanistan to resolve the issue.

Moreover in the start of the year surgical strikes were carried out in Afghanistan by Pakistan Army targeting the terrorist camps. It was a first for Pakistan Army as it has never been initiated before. These strikes were carried out after substantial evidence and intel was gained on these camps related to the tragedy at Laal Shahbaz shrine which claimed nearly 90valuable lives and left the country in anguish and dismay. The tormented nation demanded a strong action against the responsible elements. With the nation standing behind the Army, the strikes were carried out by Pakistan Army on the terrorist campswhich reflects the inner strength of the Army leadership and its resolve to stamp out any internal or external threats making attempts to de stabilize Pakistan.

To further control the cross border terrorist movement, Pakistan Army started the fencing of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also a first for Pakistan as over a decade the problem has erected challenges for the security forces. Fencing the borders will allow a better monitoring of the border and will hinder the escape routines for the terrorists. The construction of the fence will be carried out intwo phases. In the phase one, the 'high-infiltration prone' border which includes the areas of Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber Agencies will be sealed off. In the second phase, the railing of the remaining border areas of Baluchistan will be carried out.

Another achievement of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in his eight months of holding the office is sparing the troops for carrying out Census. It was established that the much overdue National Population Census could not be carried out without the involvement of the Army troops. Despite the engagements of the Army in anti-terrorist ops, Gen Qamar Bajwa approved utilization of 200,000 troops for the activity. It was a difficult decision as the troops were to be spared not compromising on the security of the region and the efficiency of the operational activities. The Census was carried out with the Pakistan Army troops involved in all the steps with the trained staff to provide security oversight to the teams and also to ensure the validity and exactness of the collected data. COAS Gen Bajwa along with the Army leadership kept tabs on the troops’ efficacy and monitored each step to ensure exactitudeof the process and eliminate any concerns by the stake holders.

The deployment of troops in Census did not hamper the efforts of Pakistan Army to up root the threats lurking to de-stabilize the country. In a recent intelligence based operation carried out in Mustang region of Baluchistan, 12 hard core terrorists were killed. In difficult landscape of caves, the operation was carried out to target notable banned terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Alami who were reported to be in hiding. There were actionable reports that the organization has been collaborating with Daesh to provide a foothold for its operations inside Pakistan. It was alarming and an immediate action was required. The said operation was conducted by Pakistan Army for almost three days and successful results were attained. An attempt of footing intended for Daesh was dealt with prompt action and eliminatedsuccessfully and is certainly a great accomplishment for COAS Gen Bajwa’s leadership. Furthermore in a short time more than 600 rebels in Baluchistan have surrendered. Gen Bajwa has also expressed great support for the development in Baluchistan.

Zarb-e-Azb, a defining manoeuvre against all threats of terrorism has proved to be a final blow to the terrorist networks. The operation initiated in time of Gen (r) Raheel Shareef, is still in continuance in the current leadership with utmost zest and zeal. The continuation of the aggressive operations has led to significantoutcomes. But this operation which broke the terrorist networksalso stemmed in sleeper cells and isolated terrorist snaresathwart the country. To eradicate these hideouts, a new operation Rudd–ul-fasaad was initiated. This on-going intel-based operation is collaborated between different intelligence agencies and theSecurity Forces of Pakistan to sweep for terrorists nationwide and conduct targeted operations. For the first time, such targeted operations were carried out in Punjab and a number of terrorists were apprehended and the terrorist sanctuaries destroyed. The operation is carried out in every city, every province of Pakistan concurrently and is the biggest operation of its kind in the history of Pakistan.

Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also accompanied Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef to Saudia Arabia to help resolve the Gulf conflict. Saudi Arabia, along with Egypt, Bahrain andUAE cut off all ties with Qatar on the alleged support for extremism and terrorism. Pakistan played neutrality and offered to extend its help to resolve the issue as Pakistan relishes brotherly relations with all the Gulf countries.

A few days back, Pakistan successfully carried out the test of The Hatf IX ("Vengeance IX") or Nasr which is a tactical ballistic missile system. The successful test of this missile with improved range is deployed to deter and respond to India’s cold start doctrine. It is developed as a "low-yield battlefield deterrent" which marks at mechanized forces like armed brigades and divisions and can be used against Indian Army on Pakistani soil as the blast yield is much lower than strategic nuclear missile.

The eight months of Chief of Army Staff, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has proved him to be a pragmatic leader initiating bold and timely responses. In the hour of need, Gen Qamar Bajwa was seen in the forefront retorting to any call-for-action with readiness and insight. Certainly the achievements of Pakistan Army in strengthening Pakistan, clearly reflects the dauntless and valiant leaderand fortifies the reliance of the Armed Forces and the nation in Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. Surely the COAS of Pakistan Army, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa not only kept high the legacy and elevated unwavering bar set by his predecessor but he also touched new heights of achievements and deliverance.

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