ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi will not stop the summary for the appointment of a new army chief, PTI senior leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, Geo News reported.
Talking to the media, he said there was no debate in the party on the issue. “Imran has also clarified that the PTI has neither any favourite nor objection to the appointment of any person as the army chief,” he said.
“We have no differences with the institution or had any in the past. We do not want any rift with it in future. However, the statement of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto about the president was uncalled for,” he added.
In a press conference last week, the PPP chairman made it clear that the country would only accept the appointment of COAS made by the prime minister, who is the only one constitutionally empowered to do so.
He said if President Dr Arif Alvi blocks the PM’s summary regarding the COAS appointment, it would need to be seen how he decides to go down in history, whether by upholding the Constitution or violating it and showing loyalty to his friend, in which case he will suffer the consequences.
“If he opts to block the PM’s summary, it will have consequences,” he said.
The press conference came before the president told his close aides that he would follow through on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice regarding the appointment of the next army chief, according to sources.
“I do not have the legal authority to stop the prime minister’s advice; I have never interfered in the affairs of the state,” President Alvi — a leader of the PTI — had stressed.
Consultation process starts today
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said that the name of the new army chief would come out by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Speaking during the Geo News programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath“, the defence minister said that the process army chief’s appointment will start on Monday.
During the show, the PML-N leader said that the change of command ceremony would be held on November 29.
As the days got closer to General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s retirement, before consulting the ruling partners on the crucial appointment, PM Shehbaz approached his brother, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif regarding the decision. In a meeting in London, both the leaders agreed to appoint the military’s senior-most officer as the next army chief.
As he touched down in Pakistan after his London visit last week, the prime minister fell sick, but he has started consultations with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders for the coveted slot.
The allied parties have fully mandated the premier for making the appointment as per set procedures and traditions, sources told Online news agency.
According to them, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman telephoned the prime minister to inquire about his health. During the telephone conversation, the two leaders exchanged views on the situation in the country and the appointment of the new army chief.
Sources said Fazl threw his weight behind PM Shehbaz, saying he should appoint the new army chief as per the set procedure.
They said a majority of the ruling coalition leaders termed the army chief’s appointment an administrative and discretionary power of the prime minister.
PPP and JUI-F leadership fully authorised PM Shehbaz Sharif to appoint the new army chief as per his wishes.