The Pakistan Army on Thursday put to rest speculation about its chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa getting another extension, saying the Chief of Army Staff is paying farewell visits to various garrisons as part of the tradition.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is poised to pick the new Army chief after Gen. Bajwa's term is scheduled to end on November 29.

Gen. Bajwa, 61, is to retire after serving two successive three-year terms as the Army chief, but speculation is rife that he may get a brief extension to oversee the next elections as demanded by former premier Imran Khan.

However, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Army's media wing, said in a statement that Gen. Bajwa was already paying farewell visits to various garrisons as part of the tradition.

"General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Sialkot and Mangla garrisons as part of his farewell visits to various formations," read the statement, adding that he met officers and men at two garrisons and addressed the troops.

The Army chief appreciated formations for their excellent performance during various operations, training and natural calamities. He also advised troops to keep serving the nation with the same zeal and commitment no matter what the circumstances.

The Army spokesperson had already confirmed more than once that General Bajwa would retire at the end of his tenure on November 29.

Even Bajwa has also made it clear he would not be seeking another extension in his tenure.

However, after the latest statement, it is expected that uncertainty regarding the new Army chief would end and the process of appointing his successor would pick up pace.

Constitutionally, the incumbent prime minister is authorised to nominate the Army chief and send the summary for the signature of the president who cannot reject the nomination.

In a related development, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is in London to meet his elder brother and former three-time premier Nawaz Sharif to consult on the key appointment among other issues.

The Geo TV reported that he had two back-to-back meetings with the elder Sharif who had been living in London since 2019 on the pretext of medical treatment.

The Express Tribune newspaper reported that a summary carrying the names of potential candidates for the top job will likely be moved about a week before General Bajwa's retirement.

However, given past practice, the formal announcement of the new chief will likely be made closer to his retirement date.

Nevertheless, some officials claim that there was a possibility of the new chief being announced sooner rather than later, according to the newspaper.

Bajwa was initially appointed in 2016, but after three years of tenure, the then-government of Imran Khan in 2019 extended his service for another three years.

In September, former prime minister Khan said that Gen Bajwa should be given another extension until the new government is elected while reiterating calls for early elections.

When Khan was in power, the Opposition accused him of trying to bring an Army chief of his choice who could support his alleged agenda of victimising opposition leaders.

Since he lost power in April this year, the equation has changed and now Khan is saying that the coalition government wants to install an Army head of its choice to protect looted wealth and steal general elections.

Whatever the political meaning of the rival rhetoric, the fact is that an Army chief is seldom a silent spectator of the political games in the country.

The powerful Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.