Consensus in London: 'our way or the highway'.

LAHORE -- As crucial discussions among various staAkAeholders around the next army chief's appointment gain momentum within and outside the country, the Sharif brothers have reportedly decided in a London huddle that the prime minister will not buckle under any 'pressure' to make the all-important appointment - come what may.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Thursday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been issued a diplomatic passport, paving the way for his impending return to the country.

In the face of looming prAeAssure from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ChairAman Imran Khan to appoint a new army chief that would be acceptable to him, and announce early polls, both PM Shehbaz Sharif and his elder brother Nawaz have decided that the powers of the premier to appoint the army chief will not be surrendered at any cost, a reliable source privy to the talks between the two brothers in London told Dawn on Thursday.

Read more: Imran 'abandons' designs to sway chief's selection

Insiders said that the prime minister had reportedly flown to London to place the options he was conveyed by certain quarters before his elder brother in the context of the fast-changing political scenario.

However, the source said both brothers agreed not to give in to Mr Khan's demand for snap elections.

'PM Shehbaz told Nawaz that almost all Pakistan DemAAocratic Movement (PDM) parties are on the same page over the premier's powers to appoint the army chief and complete the incumbent government's tenAure till August 2023. They (PML-N and allied parties) are even ready to sacrifice their government, but will not budge from their stance,' the source maintained.

Nawaz's children - MarAyam, Hassan and Hussain - were also present in the meetings.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also confirmed to a private TV channel that both Sharif brothers discussed the appointment of the army chief.

Editorial: A state of anarchy

A PML-N insider said the coalition government had 'cerAtain pressures' from some quarters over the issue of army chief's appointment and fresh polls. 'That is why Mr Shehbaz reached out to the party supremo to decide whether to accept some demands or not,' he said.

The prime minister had rushed to London on WedneAsAday on his way back from Egypt to have the 'final word' from his elder brother and party's supreme leader, who has been in a self-imposed exile for three years, over the appointment of the new army chief. Sources said an extension to Gen Bajwa was also...

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