General Qamar Javed Bajwa officially took charge as the 16th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) during the Change of Command ceremony underway at Army Hockey Stadium near General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi today.

During the ceremony former COAS General Raheel Sharif handed over the ‘command stick’ to General Qamar Bajwa.

General Raheel Sharif, the chief guest at the ceremony, earlier reviewed the guard of honour and addressed the ceremony.

Former army chiefs and senior military officials are present at the Change of Command ceremony. Federal ministers, members of the Parliament and foreign diplomats are also in attendance

‘Privileged to have commanded world’s best army’: Gen Raheel Sharif

Addressing the ceremony, Gen Raheel Sharif said he is thankful to God Almighty for having been given the opportunity to command the world’s best army.

He also thanked the Armed Forces and the Pakistani nation for their resolve and support during every step of his journey.

The outgoing COAS said he always prioritised national interest in every decision he made during his tenure as army chief.

“I am absolutely certain the Pakistan Army will always fulfill the nation’s expectations,” he said.

Lauding the efforts of the Armed Forces in the war against terror, Gen Raheel Sharif said the war has been successful and its results are evident today. However, the security situation in the region remains complicated, he added.

“It is the need of the hour that the entire nation unites to counter the challenges Pakistan faces,” the outgoing army chief said.

Gen Raheel Sharif warned India not to mistake Pakistan’s patience for weakness, otherwise it would prove dangerous.

The outgoing COAS said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a great example of budding peace and prosperity in the region.

“The first CPEC shipment at Gwadar Port has proven that the country’s journey to progress cannot be stopped now,” he said, adding that the enemies of CPEC should stop bashing the project and start benefiting from it.

Gen Raheel Sharif said he believes in strong institutions and called for all the institutions to work together for peace and prosperity of the country.