Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that he will not accept another extension to his service tenure and that he would be retiring “within five weeks”, multiple media outlets reported.

The army chief was addressing the 24th National Security Workshop at the National Defense University (NDU) on Friday which was attended by lawmakers, businesspeople, media persons, and military officials.

According to insiders who do not want to be named, the army chief said that he was not taken into confidence by the then government on his last extension.

This is not the first time Gen Bajwa has spoken about his decision to retire at the end of his ongoing tenure in November. Earlier this month, he had told a gathering at Pakistan’s Embassy in Washington that he would not be seeking another extension to his tenure.

The army chief said that since February 2021 the military had completely detached itself from politics and that it had not given any “political guarantee” to anyone neither had it given an “NRO” to any politician.

Gen Bajwa said that negotiations had taken place between Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the coalition government. However, he denied the military or anyone from the military was involved or acted as a go-between.

A brief statement issued by the military’s media wing did not mention any of these talking points. “While talking to participants, [the] COAS spoke on various challenges to national security and response measures. [The] COAS said that national cohesion and unified response to guard and promote Pakistan’s national interests is imperative for progress,” the ISPR said.

“Pakistan has faced many challenges but came out stronger every time. Our fight against terrorism is one such example which only succeeded due to the whole of the nation approach,” Gen Bajwa reiterated. “Peace and stability can only be achieved if rule of law and the state’s writ is established,” he added.

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