Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa handed over the military’s command to General Asim Munir today at a General Headquarters (GHQ) ceremony in Rawalpindi, marking the end of his six-year extended tenure.
The change of command ceremony marks the time-honoured tradition that symbolises the seamless transition of military leadership. As the ceremony began with a GHQ military band performing national songs and a medley of folk tunes, former heads of the military could also be spotted among the guests.
Senior serving and retired officers, diplomats as well as government functionaries were in attendance.
Prior to the ceremony, both Gen Bajwa and Gen Munir laid a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada (Monument to Martyrs) in GHQ and offered fateha.
‘Mein gumnaami mein chala jaon gaa, lekin fauj kay saath rohaani raabta hamesha kayam rahay ga’: Gen Bajwa
Gen Bajwa congratulated Gen Munir on being appointed his successor and hoped his promotion would help the country and the army progress. He went on to say that his association with Gen Munir goes back 24 years.
“In addition to being a Hafiz-i-Quran, he is a professional, capable and principled officer. I am certain that under his leadership the army will reach new heights of success,” the outgoing Chief said while paying tribute to his successor.
Gen Bajwa hoped the appointment of Gen Munir as the military chief would prove to be positive for both the country and the army. He said he was handing over the army to an “expert and capable son”.
Reflecting on his military journey, Gen Bajwa said the journey which began several decades ago was now coming to an end.
“I am thankful to God that he gave me the opportunity to work for this great army and gave me the opportunity to lead it,” he said, reiterating that it was a “great honour” for him.
“Soon, I will walk into obscurity, but my spiritual relationship with the army will be forever,” he said in a rare moment of poignancy, ending his speech with prayers for the success of the new army chief and the Pakistan army.
The ceremony was also attended by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu.
Gen Munir was chosen to lead the country’s army by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on November 24. The summary of his appointment was ratified by President Arif Alvi the same day.