Pakistan’s powerful Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa accompanied Prime Minister Imran Khan during key meetings with top Chinese leaders here amid reports that he is seeking greater role in the country’s affairs.
With three military coups since 1947, Pakistan was under the Army rule for half of its history. The democratically elected governments functioned under the shadow of Army Generals.
Gen Bajwa, who has been given a three-year extension by Khan, is now taking increasing interest in the decision making process.
He was present in Khan’s meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Bajwa separately called on Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and discussed the military ties between the two countries.
The friendship between the two countries has weathered the changing international landscape and stayed rock-solid, Xu said.
Bajwa is also expected to accompany Khan during his meeting with President Xi Jinping and National People’s Congress (NPC) chairman Li Zhanshu in Beijing.
Gen Bajwa along with ISI chief Lieutenant-General Faiz Hameed accompanied Khan during his recent visit to the UN to attend the General Assembly session.
He recently held a private meeting with Pakistani businessmen to discuss how to shore up Pakistan’s economy from the current mess.
Since he came to power, Khan had struggled to strike a chord with the Chinese leadership amid reports that some of the key projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were delayed.
In rare gesture in September last year Xi met Gen Bajwa whose army raised a separate force to protect thousands of Chinese personnel working in the CPEC projects.
In August this year China welcomed Khan’s move to extend the term of Bajwa for three years, calling him an “extraordinary leader” of his military and an “old friend” of the Chinese government.