Opinion DC Comment 29 Nov 2016 Pak: Don’t exp ...

Pak: Don’t expect change

Published Nov 29, 2016, 12:24 am IST
Updated Nov 29, 2016, 7:07 am IST
Pakistan army new chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. (Photo: AP)
 Pakistan army new chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. (Photo: AP)

Lt. Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa has been appointed the new chief of the Pakistan Army, and will take over on Tuesday from Gen. Raheel Sharif, who turned out to be scrupulous on not playing politics to gain an extension. Like his predecessors, we may be fairly certain that the new chief will be a professional soldier who won’t unleash ideological-political policies to promote jihadism, as had been done by Gen. Zia-ul Huq. That won’t go down well internationally in the current climate.

But regarding India we may be just as certain that the new chief won’t give up the use of militant proxies, no matter how democracy-minded and of moderate disposition Gen. Bajwa shows himself to be. This is a low-cost option short of war with deniability written all over it. China, Pakistan’s best friend, is likely to approve. The United States, best friend at crucial junctures, fretted and made the right noises, but went along all this time.

In Pakistan, the Army, rather than the pseudo-democratic political structure, is the keeper of the flame. It enjoys widespread public support, specially in dealing with India, whatever the means employed, including terror. But it will likely tailor its tactics in keeping with how the West, soon to be led by US President-to-be Donald Trump, sees its political and security role. Gen. Bajwa has considerable experience dealing with Kashmir and will use his knowledge and expertise to advance the Pakistan Army’s interests.



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