'Army chief should be appointed on merit. They [government] want to bring an army chief of their choice,' he says
LAHORE: PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan said Wednesday that the next chief of army staff (COAS) should be appointed on merit.
Speaking with journalists in Lahore, the former premier said that he "doesn't care who becomes the next army chief".
"But he, the army chief, should be appointed on merit. They [government] want to bring a chief of their choice. How can a criminal appoint the army chief?" Khan said.
He said in his view, consulting a "felon" on the selection of army chief was a "security threat".
"They are scared about their own corruption. I don't have any fear," Khan said.
Commenting on the issue of the lost cypher, Khan said: "The cypher has not been stolen. Its master copy remains with the Foreign Office. Thankfully, they have accepted [that there was] a cypher."
The PTI chief added that if the investigating committee — probing the disappearance of the cypher — summons him, he will first ask whom Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu ordered to be removed.
When responding to a query, Khan said October 16 — the date set by the Election Commission of Pakistan for by-elections on eight National Assembly seats — was far and there’s a possibility that by-polls might not be held.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan is partial and they (the government) want to have me disqualified.”
He further criticised the coalition leadership and said that PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif's Toshakhana cases should be heard simultaneously.
"I have not done anything illegal. On the other hand, they (Zardari and Nawaz) took expensive cars home which they were not entitled to,” Khan claimed.
The former prime minister also slammed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and said how could he stop his party from marching to Islamabad.
"Our government functions in all four corners [...] we are in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Kashmir. He (Sanaullah) is just threatening us," Khan said, adding that the government itself is a "security threat".