News Analysis: Confusion And Uneasiness Rule With Just A Week To Bajwa’s Departure

News Analysis: Confusion And Uneasiness Rule With Just A Week To Bajwa’s Departure
The media is full of people proclaiming about stuff they don't know much about. Pundits, politicians and cheerleaders are busy faking mega-analysis on the appointment of the next army chief to keep viewers entertained. We are coming up with calculations because our trade depends on it. But do we know that we do not know?

Muzamil Suhrawardi commented at flagship Naya Daur TV show Khabar Say Aagay, “No one knows with certainty what is conspiring in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. What’s being discussed between Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif or Qamar Bajwa and Shehbaz. We only know that Shehbaz has kept his cards close to his chest.”

Will Shehbaz Sharif play his card right and win the trick? “A game of policy and posture is on for now at least,” Suhrawardy adds.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif must be feeling devastated with this most-anticipated announcement. Will he step forward and announce the name of the next chief of the army staff today or tomorrow? Will he favour seniority or invent another formula? Will he get through it? The speculation is making the nation edgy.

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said, "It's possible that tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or two days later or three days later this whole process will reach its completion and this unrest will subside," while addressing a session of the National Assembly on November 21.

He informed that the process of making appointments to the top slots of the Pakistan Army has begun and the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi has been informed that the Ministry of Defence has received Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s letter on the appointment of a new chief of army staff -- "Currently, there are five to six senior-most candidates. But no decision has been taken as yet on the names."

Although it’s a tradition that the appointment takes place in the last two to three days, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while speaking to Asma Shirazi on Faisal Aap Ka said he fears the matter might be challenged in court if competent names are not included in the list of generals.

COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa is expected to retire in a week on November 29. The fact that the decision on the most-coveted position in Pakistan has not been announced as yet has set the rumour mill in overdrive. Meanwhile, political analysts see a clear conflict of opinion between the power wielders on the appointment. Analyst Salman Abid says this is understandable when much consultation is underway -- “This is not necessarily unwelcome”.

According to reports, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has stressed on the importance of finding common ground between 'Rawalpindi' and 'Islamabad' – and that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is bent on appointing an army chief of his choice, should display some flexibility.

“The way forward may look dark and bumpy but I’m pretty sure Shehbaz Sharif is capable of displaying flexibility,” says Murtaza Solangi.