This update is meant to identify key developments during the month on Performance of Democratic Institutions in Pakistan with selected high-profile international developments included occasionally.
- Army’s Interference in Politics has been Unconstitutional: Outgoing COAS
- General Asim Munir appointed as Chief of Army Staff
- Assassination Attempt on PTI Chairman
- Resignation of PPP Senator
- TTP ends ceasefire
- ISPR criticizes leaking of General Bajwa’s Tax Details
- 253rd Corps Commanders Meeting
- Speaker National Assembly meets Foreign Dignitaries
- Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries
- Interactions of COAS with Foreign Dignitaries
- Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS
Army’s Interference in Politics has been Unconstitutional: Outgoing COAS
In his address at the Defence and Martyrs day ceremony held on November 23, 2022, the outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that the Pakistan Army “is often made the subject of criticism,”.. “a major reason for [which] is the army’s interference in politics for the last 70 years which is unconstitutional.” He also said that “this is why in February last year  the army, after great deliberation, decided that it would never interfere in any political matter.” He added categorically that “I assure you we are strictly adamant on this and will remain so.” 
Notwithstanding the political tone and tenor of his address, his commitment as the Chief of Army Staff on behalf of the Pakistan Army to never again interfere in politics of Pakistan is not only a welcome statement, it is a much-needed requirement to put the country back on track as a well-functioning democratic state.
In the same speech, however, the outgoing Army Chief contradicted his own statement when he listed the areas in which Army worked during his 6-year tenure: “Be it the issue of Reko Diq or the Karkey penalty, damages of FATF or to bring back the country on FATF white list, fencing the border or provision of cheap gas from Qatar, or facilitation of loans from friendly countries, managing COVID or elimination of locust or flood relief operation, Pakistan Army has served the country beyond its mandate and will continue to do so, InshaAllah.” He also added that “I assure the people that despite carrying out these tasks, Pakistan Army will never falter on carrying out its basic duties and fighting terrorism.” 
Just in identifying the areas in which Pakistan Army or the former Chief of Army Staff went beyond its mandate to work, he identified the key problem. Listing of these areas makes it abundantly clear that Pakistan Army is working in the domain which is the constitutional responsibility of elected federal government on whose initiatives the civil bureaucracy has to carry out these functions across various federal ministries. While the intent of successive services chiefs in entering into domain of federal government ministries would be to help the country, this help has rendered useless other arms of the state machinery constitutionally responsible for carrying out this job.
General Asim Munir appointed as Chief of Army Staff
On November 24, 2022, the Federal Government appointed the senior-most Lieutenant General of the Pakistan Army as of that date, Lt. Gen. Syed Asim Munir, as the new Chief of Army Staff. The summary was approved by the President within hours of its receipt from the Prime Minister. Lt. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza has been named as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.
Gen. Syed Asim Munir took over the reins of the Army upon retirement of the outgoing COAS Gen. Bajwa on November 29, 2022 for a term of three years ending in November 2025.
On November 28, Bahawalpur Corps Commander and Former DG ISI Lt. Gen. Faiz Hamid opted to seek early retirement and sent his resignation to the high command. Similar reports appeared in the media about the Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Azhar Abbas seeking early retirement. Both officers were set to retire in April 2023. However, no official confirmation of these was issued by the ISPR to the media. 
Assassination Attempt on PTI Chairman
In a condemnable return to political violence, former Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan narrowly escaped from an assassination attempt sustaining multiple bullet injuries in his leg on November 3. A PTI supporter lost his life while 14 party leaders and workers sustained injuries. The attack was widely condemned across the nation and by political leaders including the Prime Minister. 
Pakistan has a long and painful history of political violence where two former Prime Ministers and many political leaders have lost their lives. That 2022 witnessed a return to political violence shows once again the cracks in the societal capacity for respecting political dissent.
The Federal government termed the assassination attempt as a case of religious extremism. Mr. Imran Khan’s “Haqeeqi Azadi March” has since been halted as he recuperates from his injuries.
Following the attack, delay of registration of the FIR became another issue as the PTI wished to name as accused the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Federal Interior Minister and a senior intelligence officer Major General Faisal Naseer of the alleged conspiracy to assassinate Mr. Khan. Punjab Chief Minister, Chaudhry Parvez Elahi directed the IGP Punjab to constitute a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe into the attack on Mr. Khan. Reports also suggested that Punjab Chief Minister was caught in dilemma on the issue. as Mr. Khan continued to insist on nominating the army officer in the FIR. It was only on November 7 that the FIR was formally launched after the Supreme Court warned that it would initiate suo motu proceedings against the Punjab police for failing to do so. The FIR lodged did not mention the names of the three accused by the PTI. 
Resignation of PPP Senator
On November 10, PPP’s Mr. Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar formally resigned as a senator. Taking to twitter on November 08, Mr. Khokhar tweeted that a senior leader from the PPP conveyed to him that the “party leadership wasn’t happy with my political positions and wanted my resignation from the senate. I gladly agreed to resign.” 
In a following tweet, he added that as a political worker, he cherishes his right to express his opinions on matters of public interest. 
Media reported that his party, the PPP, was annoyed by his stance taken on the alleged video of Senator Azam Swati. On November 01, PTI Senator Azam Swati had claimed that he was stripped and filmed after the FIA arrested him in October 2022. On November 05, Senator Swati also claimed that his family had been sent an obscene video from his wife and his stay at the judicial complex in Quetta following which his family has left the country. The FIA, however, termed the video as a fake after forensic analysis.
TTP ends ceasefire
On November 28, the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced that it has asked its combatants to carry out attacks across Pakistan in the wake of “unabated” operations by security forces against militants in the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 
While the TTP statement did not elicit any official response from the Ministry of Interior or the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), media speculated an intensity in the TTP attacks. There have been reports of the TTP attacks especially in the KP for several past months after a botched negotiation between the TTP and the military. Several peace rallies were held by the locals in Swat, Khyber and other areas of KP as an uptick in militant violence was witnessed.
It must be noted that it was only on June 22 that the Parliament was briefed on ongoing negotiations with the banned TTP through facilitation by the Afghanistan government. The Parliament was assured by the military leadership that any agreement with the TTP will be subject to the approval by Parliament. 
ISPR criticizes leaking of General Bajwa’s Tax Details
On November 27, the ISPR in a statement condemned what it called ‘misleading’ tax details of the outgoing army chief and said that assets of General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s relatives had been ‘wrongly’ shown in his tax returns.
The statement was issued after a report by the FactFocus website accused the outgoing army chief and his family of amassing assets worth Rs. 12.7 billion over the past six years.  A day after the FactFocus story, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had announced that the FBR traced the identities of those who leaked the tax records of the outgoing COAS and the family members. He termed the data leak as “clearly violative of the complete confidentiality of tax information that the law provides” and ordered an investigation. 
253rd Corps Commanders Meeting
On November 08, 253rd corps commander meeting was presided over by General Qamar Javed Bajwa. In a departure from past practice, no media statement was issued by the ISPR.
Speaker National Assembly meets Foreign Dignitaries
- On November 01, FES Head for Asia and Pacific, Mr. Mirco Guenther called on Raja Parvez Ashraf, Speaker, National Assembly at the Parliament House, Islamabad.
- On November 04, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) Mr. Hervé Juvin and Ms. Virginie Joron called on Raja Parvez Ashraf, Speaker, National Assembly at the Parliament House, Islamabad.
- On November 22, Ms. Yasmin Qureshi, Member UK House of Commons / Co-Chair of APGP called on Raja Parvez Ashraf, Speaker, National Assembly at the Parliament House, Islamabad.
Chairman Senate meets Foreign Dignitaries
- On November 29, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki called on Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman Senate at Parliament House, Islamabad.
Interactions of COAS with Foreign Dignitaries
The following foreign dignitaries called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) during the month:
- On November 01, French Ambassador, Mr. Nicolas Galey, called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at the GHQ, Rawalpindi.
- On November 01, His Excellency Dr. Al Sheikh Mohammed Omar Ahmed Al Marhoon, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman, called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at the GHQ, Rawalpindi.
Prime Minister’s Interactions with COAS
Prime Minister Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, and Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa met once during the month of November 2022. This meeting was held on November 28, at the Prime Minister’s House. 
Prime Minister also received the newly-appointed Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir twice during the month of November 2022 on November 24  and on November 30 at the Prime Minister House.
“In his last public address, COAS Bajwa slams anti-army narrative, asks political stakeholders to move forward,” Dawn online, November 24, 2022, accessed November 24, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1722654/in-his-last-public-address-coas-bajwa-slams-anti-army-narrative-asks-political-stakeholders-to-move-forward. ↑
Naveed Siddiqui, “President signs off on top military appointments; Lt Gen Asim Munir to be next army chief,” Dawn online, November 24, 2022, accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1720318. ↑
“Lt-Gen Faiz Hamid takes ‘early retirement’,” Dawn online, November 29, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1723724/lt-gen-faiz-hamid-takes-early-retirement. ↑
Kalbe Ali| Iftikhar A. Khan, “Govt sees ‘religious extremism’ behind attack on PTI chief,” Dawn online, November 05, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1719073/govt-sees-religious-extremism-behind-attack-on-pti-chief ↑
Nasir Iqbal, “Police finally register FIR over attack on PTI chief following SC intervention,” Dawn online, November 08, 2022, accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1719634. ↑
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar (@mustafa_nawazk) Twitter, November 08, 2022, 4:50 pm, accessed December 15, 2022. https://mobile.twitter.com/mustafa_nawazk/status/1589948364791386112?cxt=HHwWgMDU6aTn0JAsAAAA. ↑
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar (@mustafa_nawazk) Twitter, November 08, 2022, 4:50 pm, accessed December 15, 2022. https://mobile.twitter.com/mustafa_nawazk/status/1589948484727508994 ↑
Iftikhar A. Khan, “Khokhar resigns as senator,” Dawn online, November 11, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1720258/khokhar-resigns-as-senator ↑
Ahmad Fraz Khan, “Sobbing Swati alleges receiving ‘obscene’ video,” Dawn online, November 06, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1719272/sobbing-swati-alleges-receiving-obscene-video ↑
Zulfiqar Ali, “TTP ditches ceasefire, returns to warpath,” Dawn online, November 29, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1723715/ttp-ditches-ceasefire-returns-to-warpath ↑
“سیاسی وعسکری قیادت کا قومی سلامتی پر اہم اجلاس,” PMO online, June 22, 2022, accessed July 4, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=4233. ↑
Syed Irfan Raza, “ISPR denounces Bajwa’s ‘misleading’ tax details,” Dawn online, November 28, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1723567/ispr-denounces-bajwas-misleading-tax-details ↑
“Leakers of Bajwa family tax returns identified: Dar,” Dawn online, November 23,2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1722521/leakers-of-bajwa-family-tax-returns-identified-dar ↑
Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Flurry of meetings hints at key decisions to come,” Dawn online, November 10, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1720057/flurry-of-meetings-hints-at-key-decisions-to-come ↑
Speaker-National Assembly of Pakistan @NASpeakerPK Twitter, November 01, 2022, 4: 42 pm, accessed December 09, 2022. https://twitter.com/NAofPakistan/status/1587409620070371328. ↑
Speaker-National Assembly of Pakistan @NASpeakerPK Twitter, November 04, 2022, 1: 31 pm, accessed December 09 2022. https://twitter.com/NAofPakistan/status/1588448913090285571 ↑
Speaker-National Assembly of Pakistan @NASpeakerPK Twitter, November 22, 2022, 1: 06 pm, accessed December 09, 2022. https://twitter.com/NAofPakistan/status/1594965605299494915. ↑
“Ambassador of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki calling on Chairman Senate, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani at Parliament House Islamabad,” Senate of Pakistan online, November 29, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://senate.gov.pk/en/news_content.php?id=4662 ↑
“French ambassador calls on COAS Gen Bajwa,” The Nation online, November 01, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.nation.com.pk/01-Nov-2022/french-ambassador-calls-on-coas-gen-bajwa ↑
“His Excellency Dr Al Sheikh Mohammed Omar Ahmed Al Marhoon, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Pakistan called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at GHQ,” ISPR online, November 01, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://ispr.gov.pk/press-release-detail.php?id=6444. ↑
“وزیراعظم شہباز شریف سے چیف آف دی آرمی سٹاف جنرل قمر جاوید باجوہ کی وزیر اعظم ہاؤس میں الوداعی ملاقات,” PMO online, November 28, 2022, accessed December 10, 2022. https://pmo.gov.pk/press_release_detailes.php?pr_id=4473 ↑
Baqir Sajjad Syed “Seniority prevails in change of command,” Dawn online, November 25, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1722912/seniority-prevails-in-change-of-command. ↑
“Army chief calls on PM Shehbaz,” Dawn online, November 25, 2022, accessed December 09, 2022. https://www.dawn.com/news/1724037/army-chief-calls-on-pm-shehbaz. ↑