(Bloomberg) -- Pakistan’s military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa reiterated that he will retire next month, ending speculation that the nation’s most powerful person will seek a third term. 

Bajwa, who got an extension for a second term of three years in 2019, made the commitment while speaking at a lunch by Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, Dawn reported. The military leader said the armed forces have distanced themselves from politics and will continue to do so. 

The army chief is seen as the most powerful person in Pakistan as the military has ruled the nuclear-armed country for about half its history and it retains an outsized influence in setting foreign and domestic policies. The army influences politicians and it is known to have played role in setting up governments of preferences in the past, according to analysts. The nation’s former finance minister Miftah Ismail last week claimed the army chief secured the latest LNG deal with Qatar.

Former premier Imran Khan, who had a fallout with the army before he was ousted through a no-confidence vote in parliament in April, wanted Bajwa to continue in his current position until the next election to have a chance of picking the next army chief. The army lashed out at Khan for making the process controversial. By law, Pakistan’s prime minister Shehbaz Sharif will pick the successor once Bajwa’s term ends in the last week of November.


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