The next chief of army staff(COAS) would be announced by Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
In an interview with the Geo News show “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath”, Asif said: “The process will start rolling on Monday and hopefully the decision of this whole matter will be before you by next week and the new army chief’s name will be revealed.”
The PML-N leader announced during the program that the ceremony to transition the command would take place on November 29. He predicted that the day the appointment decision was made, the long march would take a significant blow.
The current army head, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is scheduled to retire later this month and has ruled out an extension of his term.
‘Will implement PM’s advice
A day earlier, President Dr. Arif Alvi received a special message from Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on the appointment of the new army chief and breaking the impasse over the country’s constitutional issues.
Additionally, President Alvi declared that he would heed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recommendation regarding the choice of the next army chief.
The president stated that he could not put obstacles in the eagerly awaited process of naming the next army chief during a conversation with his aides.
President Alvi insisted, “I do not have the legal right to obstruct the prime minister’s suggestion; I have never meddled in state issues.
His statement came after PTI chief Imran Khan, who has time and again called for the appointment of the army chief on “merit”, said his party will sit back and watch as the government decides to appoint the next army chief.
Zardari against ‘politicizing’ appointment
Asif Zardari, a former president, declared earlier today that he firmly supported the army promotion process as written.
The PPP co-chairman stated that all three-star generals were equally qualified when speaking about the selection of the new army leader.
He stated that politicising the process would be detrimental to the institution and that it should be avoided at all costs.
According to Zardari, the next army chief would be chosen in accordance with the law by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah
The nomination of the next army chief, according to interior minister Rana Sanaullah, would be decided in a day or two.
“I believe the prime minister has completed this process (of consultation about the army chief appointment) and will bring it to paper, today or tomorrow or the next two days, [it] takes no time,” he said.
“I will also request you that this is a matter of a day or two so don’t ask questions which can lead to unnecessary speculation,” adding there “is not a lot of time left to this decision and it will come before you,” said the interior minister.
Sanaullah said that a further delay in the matter would not be “appropriate” and the next army chief would be appointed in the next two days.
The interior minister further asserted that the army chief’s appointment, not early elections, was the goal of the PTI march to Islamabad. He continued, “The long march is not really evident anyplace; it’s only in the media.
Imran claims Nawaz wants to influence the pick
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the PML-N, was allegedly trying to sway the choice of the next army chief, according to PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
“Although the army leader is a career soldier, Nawaz wants to make him or her the Punjab police chief. Imran Khan isn’t “accustomed to playing with a neutral umpire,” he added, adding that I know Nawaz will instruct the army chief to find a way to get rid of him “.
Imran further asserted that Nawaz would advise the incoming army chief to resolve the numerous corruption accusations brought against him and to postpone holding elections until he was confident of winning.
Vice President of the PTI, Fawad Chaudhry, responded by stating that the president would fulfil his constitutional obligation with regard to the significant appointment. Let me be clear: Imran Khan will fully support whatever the president decides, he continued.