Islamabad [Pakistan], August 14 (ANI): Pakistan’s Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed’s surprise transfer discloses that the Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is continually devising tactics to reconnect with the US which seeks a visible role in Afghanistan.
Apparently, General Hameed has boastfully claimed to have helped the Taliban oust the Americans last August and Americans suspect Hameed’s role in supporting former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s foreign conspiracy claims against the US for his ouster, reported Islam Khabar.
As Pakistan is hit by an economic catastrophe, Bajwa wants to keep Pakistan in Washington’s good books.
Hameed, who was once touted to be in line to become the country’s army chief, has been posted as commander of the Bahawalpur corps of the Pakistan Army, commonly referred to as the 31 Corps.
Notably, Faiz Hameed was considered to be close to former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who was ousted from power in April. In his long tenure as an Army person, Hameed has handled several key military and diplomatic roles.
There are other reasons as well. The Russia-Ukraine War, the continuing skirmish with Iran and the growing belligerence with China have hastened Washington’s return to the region. Hameed transfer has also dimmed his prospects for the post of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as Bajwa is set to retire on November 29, 2022.
Hameed, a former Director General of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI is one of the four senior Generals in contention for COAS post and Bajwa is likely to nominate his successor in the next two months.
Secondly, Hameed’s transfer could mean a possibility of a significant shift in Pakistan’s Afghan policy, beginning with the ongoing talks with the militant group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Notably, TTP enjoys the patronage of the Afghan Taliban which rules Afghanistan and the abrupt removal of Hameed, reportedly with wide connections in the Taliban leadership, indicates his failure to find an early settlement with TTP.
Hameed’s transfer also indicates the grumblings within the army leadership are not over yet but General Bajwa is determined to clean up the stables before he leaves.
Hailed as the hero of the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, Hameed, from sipping tea at Kabul’s famous Serena Hotel, on September 4, 2021, to Bahawalpur has had a long and contentious journey.
He also played a key role in bringing Imran Khan to Islamabad and remained steadfast with his protege even after General Bajwa had withdrawn his blessing. Hameed was moved out of ISI as Peshawar Corps Commander by Bajwa who was not happy with the subordinate officer usurping credit for the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan.
Bajwa entrusted Hameed with the responsibility of bringing around TTP to a ceasefire. On a familiar wicket, Hameed went overboard in wooing TTP leadership with the help of his `friends` in the Taliban government.
His efforts resulted in a truce between the Army and TTP but nothing more. The militant group was extremely cagey of the army and the possibility of being sold out to the US, a fear which came true with the killing of al Qaeda chief, Ayman al Zawahari and TTP leader Omar Khalid Khorasani.
With the talks ending in a stalemate and the TTP carrying out attacks against the army, Hameed’s failure had become apparent, giving Bajwa an excuse to move him out to Bahawalpur and bring a battle-hardened Lt. General Sardar Hassan Hayat Azhar to Peshawar to deal with TTP.
Last year, Hameed was sent on a high-profile visit to Kabul to patch up differences between the so-called moderate Taliban, mainly those who negotiated the February 2020 Doha Pact and the field commanders whose military push brought the group to power last August.
Pakistan military’s media wing on Monday announced two new appointments apart from Lt Gen Hameed, who was previously posted as the commander of the Peshawar corps, Geo News reported.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Pakistan’s Lieutenant General Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat has been posted as the commander of the Peshawar corps.
Lieutenant General Khalid Zia has been appointed as the new military secretary of the Pakistan Army, ISPR said.
Last week, former director-general of the ISPR Lt Gen Asif Ghafoor was appointed corps Commander Quetta after Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali who was killed last Tuesday in a helicopter crash in Balochistan province.
The remains of the military chopper’s wreckage, along with the bodies of the six officers and crew members who were aboard, were found in a coastal Balochistan area last week.
Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, Major General Amjad Hanif, Brigadier Muhammad Khalid, Major Saeed Ahmed, Major M Talha Manan and Naik Mudassar Fayyaz were on board the Mi-17 helicopter of Army Aviation.
Lt Gen Ali was in charge of overseeing relief efforts in Balochistan, which has been severely affected by flash floods due to intense monsoon rains in the province. (ANI)