Army has resolved to shun politics, assures Bajwa.

ISLAMABAD -- Outgoing army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday admitted that the army for seven decades had 'unconstitutionally interfered in politics', and at the same time criticised political parties for erring and being intolerant towards rivals.

The rare candid admission by an army chief came at what could possibly be Gen Bajwa's last public appearance before the change of command ceremony next week.

He was speaking at the Defence and Martyrs Ceremony at the General Headquarters. The annual event, which is held on Sept 6, could not be held this year because of floods and was organised now as part of Gen Bajwa's farewell engagements.

Gen Bajwa reserved most of his criticism for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and accused the former ruling party of crafting 'a fake and false' narrative against the army and calling the senior commanders names. The army chief, however, added that he was ready to forgive and leave the controversy behind.

Gen Bajwa said that the army often faced criticism at home because of its 'interference in politics' in various ways for seventy years, which is 'unconstitutional'.

It may be recalled that army's interference in politics has been widespread and has ranged from dislodging civilian governments through coups to indirectly controlling weak dispensations. Political leaders have, meanwhile, quite readily ceded space to the military due to their weaknesses allowing the institutional boundaries to be breached.

Gen Bajwa himself shared a glimpse of the extent of the military's involvement in governance, when he listed the services of the army for the country - dealing with Financial Action Task Force, Federally Administered Tribal Areas merger, border fencing, buying gas from Qatar, and dealing with Covid-19 and locusts.

'Army always went beyond the call of duty in the service of the nation and will continue to do so,' the COAS said.

The army chief said that the interference in the political sphere by the military continued till February last year after which the military thoroughly deliberated on the matter and decided to stay out of politics. 'I want to reassure you that we are strictly adhering to this decision and will continue to do so,' he maintained.

'Ready to forgive'

The latest onslaught being faced by the army is because of the perception in the PTI that the military did not help the party's government against the opposition's vote of confidence. PTI Chairman Imran Khan had soon after his ouster...

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