The process to appoint the top army officials of Pakistan has kicked off, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif confirmed on Monday.
Taking to Twitter, the minister said that the appointments will be made soon in line with constitutional requirements
"The process of appointing [officials] to Pakistan Army's highest positions has started today, God willing, the appointments will be made soon as per the constitutional requirements," Asif wrote.
In a conversation with media personnel after meeting Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the senior minister said the process of appointing the army chief would be completed by November 25, and the summary would be moved within a day or two.
"There is no deadlock over the appointment of the army chief. Once we receive the summary, we will discuss the names — which would probably be five or six senior-most officers," he said.
The defence minister said the PML-N is consulting its allies over the appointment to the coveted post, and there was no pressure on the government regarding the army chief's appointment.
He added that the summary has not yet reached the PM's Office.
Speculations regarding the appointment of the new army chief are being made as the date of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa's retirement draws near. COAS General Bajwa is all set to retire on November 29 and has also kick-started his farewell visits.
Once the prime minister approves the names, he sends the summary to the president for ratification. It is then again sent back to the premier's office for an official announcement.
In a press conference last week, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari made it clear that the country would only accept the appointment of COAS made by the prime minister, who is the only one constitutionally empowered to do so.
He said if President Dr Arif Alvi blocks the PM’s summary regarding the COAS appointment, it would need to be seen how he decides to go down in history, whether by upholding the Constitution or violating it and showing loyalty to his friend, in which case he will suffer the consequences.
“If he opts to block the PM’s summary, it will have consequences,” he said. However, PTI stresses that the president will work in line with the law and not create hurdles in the process.
While addressing journalists, PTI Vice President Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that President Alvi will not stop the summary for the appointment of a new army chief.
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