Pakistan: The COAS Change of Command


Gen Bajwa hands over command to Gen Munir as 17th COAS

by Mian Hameed    29 November 2022

Six years tenure of Javid Qamar Bajwa as Pakistan Army COAS came to an end on November 29, 2022. In a change of command the baton was handed over to General Asim Munir. Pakistanis have refrained to comment on their new army chief. In their silence, those that have discussed the new chief have pinned hopes on General Munir, wishing him to take certain steps.

I would not have printed my views if my line of reasoning was similar—waiting for General Munir to show his cards. I am preempting to test my wisdom in my analytics. For what I write today will help define me tomorrow. To place my name on the line is always a right thing to do – It is a personal thing.

The timeline in which Gen. Munir would take measures to direct his men and women in uniform has a continuum. On that continuum there are duties on how to shape professionally and strategically his army requires time. Though a sense of correctness to show character develops and grows overtime, what does not require time to act on a sense of correctness to show character.

General Munir had compelling eight months starting from April 08, 2022 till November 28, 2022, to evaluate Bajwa’s correctness in the wake of  orchestrating the regime change and to slot Bajwa’s deeds into good and evil. Then acting upon those today, stating from the day of the change of command to begin creating his legacy.

An aspect of Bajwa, his duty to profession and country should have been crystal clear for Gen. Munir. Within his/our own Commons where he/we act as the judge a jury, aided by our wisdom, he/we sanction our judgement. There is no question in the minds of Pakistanis that Bajwa has committed sedition and treasonous acts. For those Bajwa must be tried and let the law decide the fate of this repugnant man.

For those (Bajwa’s duty to country), Gen. Munir does not require a trial. He makes use of taking measures, acting from his sense of correctness to extrude his character, and expose his aura to the country. His exposition of self to the world.

Starting from the day of the change of command ceremony, Gen. Munir did extrude his character and self-exposition to the world. Gen. Munir, did not tell the masses that Bajwa belong in the purgatory by expiating his sins before going to heaven.

Gen. Munir to show protest against the heinous ills of his former chief could have taken along his ADC, and requiring him to accept the baton during the change of command ceremony. Then, how does he reconcile this act out of strong character with his foreign influences. I see extruding self to the world is Gen. Munir’s handicap. Bold acts require bolder measures and wisdom to fall in grace within the lines of foreign expectations.

Constitution lends a code of conduct to a nation, organizations follow its prospectus and factsheet, and Nature conforms to a code of conduct – Highly scientific, innate and miraculous.  We have the Natural Law Theories, (“The Natural law and divine providence”…)

What guidance will stop Gen. Munir to heed to. To the country’s dismay, Bajwa and the army hierarchy has let down the institution and the nation. What guidance will stop Gen. Munir coming from the army’s hierarchy to start a Court Marital hearing of Bajwa on day-two.

What ethics would guide the new army chief Asim Munir? Many of us are raised by the Cannons of religion—a code of conduct. Our parents, some blessed more than others to have raised us as best as they could. In my case, later, while I was attending my institution as a Freshman, I entered the Dean’s office. A few steps into his office, he said, “Son take your cap off.” With these principle means, we conduct ourselves.

In terms of evaluating Gen. Munir, the last but-one sentence, the institutional grooming is of immense guidance. The institutional influence on Gen. Munir on his character. Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) and Officer’s Training School (OTS) are like a purgatory. Young minds born to parents impacted by the country’s fault lines are taught how to make it to heaven. A carpe momentous journey, which as they rise changes into carpe diem (giving little thought to the future of country.)

Gen. Munir is a progeny of carpe diem, just like his predecessors. The questioned character and professional abilities of Gen. Musharraf; the troublesome legacy of Gen. Kayani; the defunct character of Gen. Bajwa are the recent misfortunes.

The character progression of these men fall on a spectrum from a darker amber to a glowing red is alarming. Therefore, we can further ask, how many others like Bajwa who have avoided what they were opposed to uphold (the code of conduct) for their fulfillment and have evaded the institutions’ checks and balances to make it to the top?

Pakistan Army and other armed forces are effectively finished in a journey of raising a worthy soldier in a command hierarchy. We have a list of nefarious officers in disgrace: All the chiefs (the Air Force, the Navy, the Joint Chiefs and all the Corp Commanders) should have resigned in protest to the acts of Bajwa.

Resignation would have been an act commensurate to the code of ethics and would have been the first act against an ‘anti-criminal anti-government revolution.’ A government with outright criminals at the helm led by the ring leader Bajwa.

Among them, certain men of ill, knowing they have lost their bid to become the COAS, it is a little too late if this class of unconscionable soldiers tender resignations tomorrow. Not sure why they waited for, Bajwa was not to place a true blue soldier if he could have found one to undo his treasonous acts.

The misfortune of Gen. Asim Munir is, he is the choice of criminals with foreign stakes in his appointment. Our imagination about Munir is compelling. He did not resign either because he has avoided ‘what is opposed’ to him’—a code of ethics of becoming a soldier.

The fact remains, Munir has replaced a mafia Don of the Joint Enterprise Decapitating Humanity. Expecting Munir behaving differently than the previous alleged criminal goes against the theory of logic. The foregoing reality places him in the thick of logic. A “logic of obligation” can go both ways.

Today, I am tempted to place my bet. Gen. Munir will eventually play his card, “A logic of obligation.” Knowing the cliché, ‘Pakistan Army Generals are half dead,’ places Munir in difficulty to surprise his handlers—those that have desired Munir.

Gen. Munir is expected to be shaped very little by the institution of army to bring goodness. Pakistan’s hope in Gen. Munir protrudes from the institution of his parents. I am told his father was a good man, and a caring school teacher who had greater plans, how he would pass his 50cc motorcycle from son to son.