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Updated At: Nov 25, 2022 06:22 AM (IST)
Qamar Javed Bajwa, in his last address as Pakistan’s army chief, had an embarrassing task to perform. He was forced to defend the country’s most powerful institution, which has historically played an outsized role in domestic politics and foreign policy. Facing a wave of criticism, particularly from former Prime Minister Imran Khan who has accused the army of a role in his removal in April, the outgoing General admitted that the army had unlawfully meddled in politics for decades and will no longer do so. The catharsis has started, claimed the 62-year-old who has been at the helm since 2016. The duplicity came through moments later as he warned the political parties that there were limits to the army’s patience. The more things change, the more they stay the same in Pakistan.
The appointment of Bajwa’s successor is being seen as a major subplot in the political crisis engulfing the country. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif named former spy head Asim Munir as the army chief, and Sahir Shamshad Mirza as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Munir’s appointment as army chief was approved by President Arif Alvi, who belongs to Khan’s party. The seniormost officer after Bajwa, his elevation signals a setback for the former premier as it could be a possible obstacle to Khan’s attempts to force early elections. Munir headed the Inter-Services Intelligence when India-Pakistan tensions escalated following the Pulwama attack in February 2019. His eight-month stint as the top intelligence officer was the shortest-ever as he was replaced on the insistence of Khan.
Bajwa, in his farewell tours, is also seeking to rewrite the history of the 1971 war, the latest in a slew of stupefying attempts by the Pakistan army to cover up its genocide and defeat in Bangladesh. He has termed the surrender a political and not a military failure. An estimated 93,000 Pakistani soldiers were taken prisoners of war. Bajwa says only 34,000 were fighting soldiers. Coming from the army chief, it’s embarrassing. What can be worse than a country disowning its soldiers?
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The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling English daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).
Remembering Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia
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