Politicking surges days before new COAS is named.

LAHORE -- Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday initiated the keenly anticipated consultations with his government allies on the all-important appointment of a new army chief, even as Defence Minister Khawaja Asif revealed that a name would be announced by Tuesday or Wednesday.

On the other hand, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said consultations had been completed and the new chief would be appointed in a day or two.

In a significant development, Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the PPP - the PML-N's biggest ally in the government - said his party believed in the promotion system for the army and that the top army boss's appointment would be made by the prime minister as per the Constitution.

He said the appointment should not be politicised otherwise it could harm the institution. 'All three-star generals are equal and capable [to hold the office],' he added.

Meanwhile, sources said Prime Minister Sharif, who is currently quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19, has spoken to Pakistan Democratic MoveAment (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on the army chief's appointment.

They said a formal meeting of the prime minister with the Maulana and Mr Zardari on the matter was expected on Saturday or Sunday.

The defence minister told Geo News on Friday that the paperwork the regarding appointment of the new army chief would be started on Monday and the appointment made on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The induction ceremony of the new army chief will take place on Nov 29, he added.

The tenure of incumbent chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is ending on Nov 29 and, according to the laid down procedure, the army proposes a panel of names of the probables for the slot and a summary is sent to the prime minister through the Defence Ministry to make the appointment.

Prime Minister Sharif recently paid a private visit to London where he consulted his brother and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif regarding the army chief's appointment. Federal ministers had said that after returning to the country, the PM would take all the coalition partners into confidence on the decision made in London.

Defence Minister Asif said Nawaz had taken all the party decisions in the recent past by taking their allies on board.

Responding to a question if the army and the government were on the same page and who would be the next chief, the minister said the government could not ignore the significance of the army in the system. He said there were many military interventions in the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT