General Qamar Bajwa of the Pakistani Army arrived in the UK on Sunday evening accompanied by Major General Asif Ghafoor at the start of a five day visit organised by the British Ministry of Defence. General Bajwa will meet British military leaders to discuss increasing the military relationship between the UK and Pakistan in the fight against extremist groups operating in Southern Asia including ISIS.
Among the topics the General and his aide are expected to discuss include Pakistan’s concerns regarding extremism within Pakistan’s tribal area, the situation in Afghanistan, the security of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor and the disputed Kashmir region. As well as meeting British military and political leaders, the General is also expected to meet with leaders of the Pakistani community in the UK.
General Bajwa was promoted to the rank of four star general and appointed as the Chief of the Army Staff of the Pakistan Army by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016. He is the 16th general to hold the post and succeeded General Raheel Sharif who had held the post since 2013. Bajwa is known to be an advocate of democracy and has been characterised as having a more tempered approach to India than some of his predecessors.
The General’s visit to the UK follows a visit to Pakistan by the UK’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd last month. During the visit she was quoted in local media as saying;
Pakistan has suffered more than most from the scourge of terrorism…I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of the [Pakistan Interior] minister as well as Pakistan’s police and its armed forces in delivering significant improvements in security across the country over the last two years…We have a lot to learn from each other.