Asia

Pakistan: Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa named new army chief

Pakistani Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Bahawalpur district, Nov 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Canadian-trained Gen Bajwa has commanded the elite X Corps

Pakistan has named Lt Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa as the country's new army chief.

Canadian-trained and an officer for 35 years, he will take over one of the most powerful roles in the country on Tuesday.

He will succeed the popular Gen Raheel Sharif, who is retiring after a three-year stint during which he is credited with improving security.

Gen Bajwa has commanded the elite X Corps, responsible for the area along the ceasefire line in disputed Kashmir.

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He was chosen over the highest ranking contender, the army's Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen Zubair Hayat, who was previously responsible for the security of the country's nuclear programme.

Ground offensive

Gen Bajwa currently serves as the Inspector-General Training and Evaluation, a post Gen Sharif held before he was promoted.

Months after he was appointed, the outgoing army chief launched a ground offensive to clear the Waziristan region of militant sanctuaries, dramatically reducing attacks in the north of the country.

But Pakistan's powerful military still faces many challenges, with attacks continuing elsewhere and heightened tensions with India along the mutual de facto border in Kashmir.

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Media captionPakistan's retiring army chief has been very popular - including on social media

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