Pak­istan PM Sharif names Ba­jwa as new army chief

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pak­istan’s Prime Min­is­ter yes­ter­day picked Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Qa­mar Javed Ba­jwa to re­place out­go­ing army chief Ra­heel Sharif, a pop­u­lar mil­i­tary leader cred­ited for im­prov­ing se­cu­rity and driv­ing back Is­lamist mil­i­tant groups, his spokesman said. Gen­eral Ba­jwa will likely take charge of the world’s sixth-largest army by troop num­bers in a for­mal han­dover on Tues­day, when Gen­eral Sharif, who is no re­la­tion to prime min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif, for­mally re­tires. The ap­point­ment of Ba­jwa is ex­pected to help re­set fraught re­la­tions be­tween the mil­i­tary and the civil­ian govern­ment in a nu­cle­ar­armed na­tion of 190 mil­lion peo­ple.

Mean­while, four heav­ily-armed sui­cide bombers at­tacked a mil­i­tary fa­cil­ity in north­west­ern Pak­istan yes­ter­day and killed two sol­diers, but failed to storm a busy mosque in­side, the army said. A splin­ter group of the Pak­istani Tale­ban, Tehreek-eTale­ban Pak­istan Ja­maat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA), claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack on Gha­lani Camp in Mohmand Agency that is part of the law­less Fed­er­ally Ad­min­is­tered Tribal Ar­eas (FATA) bor­der­ing Afghanistan.

A spokesman for TTP-JA, Eh­san­ul­lah Eh­san, said the Is­lamist group car­ried out the raid in an ef­fort to set free fel­low mil­i­tants from cus­tody of the se­cu­rity forces. The mil­i­tants be­gan their at­tack at 6 am lo­cal time (0100 GMT) and at­tempted to storm into a mosque where a large num­ber of army re­cruits were present, the army said. “Wear­ing sui­cide jack­ets they opened fire and tried to rush in­side the mosque. They were taken on and con­tained in the outer court­yard of the mosque,” the mil­i­tary said in a state­ment.

Two of the at­tack­ers were shot dead and two det­o­nated their ex­plo­sive vests, pre­vent­ing a “huge dis­as­ter”, the army added. Pak­istan’s fron­tier re­gions, deeply con­ser­va­tive and hard to ac­cess due to rough ter­rain, have long been the sanc­tu­ary of fight­ers from Al-Qaeda, the Tale­ban and other mil­i­tant groups.

In 2014, the army launched a ma­jor op­er­a­tion in other parts of FATA in­clud­ing North and South Waziris­tan against in­sur­gents who rou­tinely at­tacked govern­ment of­fi­cials and civil­ians.

Most of the myr­iad mil­i­tant groups that stage at­tacks in­side Pak­istan seek to over­throw the govern­ment to es­tab­lish an Is­lamic theoc­racy and im­pose a stricter in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the re­li­gion than is prac­ticed in much of the coun­try. — Reuters

Lt Gen Qa­mar Ba­jwa, the new chief of Pak­istan Army.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.