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Pakistan's Defense Minister: No Immediate Policy Changes By New Army Chief

FILE: Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Asif
FILE: Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Asif

Pakistan's Defense Minister says there will be no immediate shift in the country's military policy under the newly appointed army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif made the remarks to Pakistan's Geo News TV on November 27, a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Bajwa to replace the outgoing army chief, General Raheel Sharif.

The army chief of staff is arguably the most powerful person in Pakistan, and Bajwa's appointment was expected to reset tense relations that have developed between the government and the military under General Sharif's command.

But Asif dampened expectations that Bajwa would immediately push for radical policy changes, saying "the military policy will continue and there will be no immediate change in it."

Little is publicly known about General Bajwa or his ideological stance on key issues such as relations with India or how to combat homegrown Islamist militants.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Geo News TV