KARACHI: Year 2013 brings high-level changes in Pakistan, said Kamran Khan in his programme ‘Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Sath’ on Friday.
A new president and a new prime minister have already taken oaths of their respective offices. Now it’s the turn of changes in the military leadership.
Kamran Khan said that the time of retirement of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Khalid Shameem Wynne, has come. Today he paid a farewell visit to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Now the announcement of a new chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will be made by the prime minister any moment.
Kamran Khan said there is no hard and fast rule as far as appointment of the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is concerned. The post can go to the Army, the Navy or the Air Force.
He said that generally it has been observed that if the country happens to be under military rule then the post goes to a four-star army general, but there are examples when under the civilian rule the post went once each to the Air Force and the Navy. It is also believed that this is just a ceremonial post. However, one must not forget that the policy on the country’s nuclear assets is actually framed at the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and so the post assumes huge importance.
Meanwhile, the term of the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, ends on November 28, 2013. Kamran Khan said that the government and the opposition appears to be in agreement that seniority must be the criterion for promotion and that the senior-most person should be elevated.
Kamran Khan said that it is quite rare that the government and the opposition happen to be on the same page on an issue. Now is one such occasion when the government and the opposition think alike on several things. This indicates that if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif picks someone from the Army for the post of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee then Lieutenant-General Haroon Aslam, who is the senior-most lieutenant-general of the Army at the moment, may bag that slot. If Nawaz Sharif decides to take the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee from the Navy then the post is likely to go to the incumbent naval chief, Admiral Asif Sandila. In that scenario, Lieutenant-General Haroon Aslam will likely be the next Army chief. Defence analyst Air Marshal (R) Shehzad Chaudhry said in the programme that the post of the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee has failed to serve its purpose for which the post was created in the first place. However, it is incorrect to say that the post is merely ceremonial.
In a different segment of the programme, Kamran Khan said that hike in power tariffs has created a storm in the country. Coupled with the increase in the prices of petroleum products, the situation nearly reached the boiling point. However, the political parties acted quite maturely and helped in cooling things down.
Kamran Khan said that the national exchequer cannot afford to supply power at the current rates. The government says that almost 50 percent of power consumers are those who use from 100 to 200 units a month, and so the hike in power rates will not affect the lower economic section of society.