ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif says that the prime minister has discretion regarding the appointment of the army chief, so a decision over it will be taken by him.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa is set to retire on November 29 and the PML-N — the major stakeholder in the ruling coalition — has resolved to appoint the senior-most officer whose name is at the top of the list that would be sent to the government.
During a conversation with media representatives, when a journalist asked Asif whether a decision has been taken over the appointment, the minister replied in the negative. He said no such decision had taken place, refuting media reports.
It was also asked if former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has any role to play, to which Asif said that taking advice on the appointment of the army chief is at the discretion of the prime minister.
On a question regarding PTI Chairman Imran Khan's recent comments in an interview with the Financial Times where he said he "no longer blamed the US" and wants "dignified” ties with the country if he comes back to power, Asif sarcastically asked if this was the first time Khan was taking back his words.
"He turns away from everything, how many things have been said in the last four years? Has Imran Khan stood by anything he says?" Asif asked.
The PTI chief, a day earlier, signalled his desire to mend ties with the United States through cooperation with Washington in the future.
Referring to the alleged conspiracy, Khan said that "it was over".
“As far as I’m concerned it’s over, it’s behind me. The Pakistan I want to lead must have good relationships with everyone, especially the United States," he said.
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