Imran claims he's taken a 'step back' on chief's appointment.

LAHORE -- PTI Chairman Imran Khan has 'stepped back' from the issue of new army chief's appointment and said 'we are looking at the process from the fringes'.

Speaking to senior journalists at his Zaman Park residence and later virtually addressing the party's long march rallies in Jehlum, Sargodha and Mardan on Wednesday, the PTI chief regretted that PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, a convict and an absconder, as well as former president Asif Ali Zardari, would be taking the most important national security decision of new army chief's appointment.

He claimed that their personal interests clashed with national interests.

'I am not talking about those, amongst whom an army chief be appointed, but about those who will take decision about the appointment against the most sensitive position in the country.'

Sources say Mr Khan's decision to 'step back' from the matter gives an impression of his discontentment over the failure of PTI's backchannel talks with the establishment, which were being spearheaded by President Dr Arif Alvi.

The president had last week admitted that there was no breakthrough in backdoor talks he was holding with all political players as well as the powers that be to find a workable solution to end the chaos. On Wednesday, Mr Alvi conceded that he was 'engaged with political and relevant stakeholders' in an attempt to bring them on the negotiating table so that they thrash out a consensus on the major issues facing the nation.

Referring to reports that the incumbent government had decided to bring changes in the Army Act, Mr Khan said: 'I fear that the duo (Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari) would damage the state institutions for their personal interests. I want that the new army chief's appointment should strengthen Pakistan Army.'

Analysis: It's not over till it's over

Talking to the senior journalists, he said Nawaz Sharif wanted that only such an army chief be appointed who should look after his financial matters and cases. He, however, hastened to add that 'no army chief will go against the state, state institution and masses'.

The former premier said he did not have any animosity towards Washington...

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