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Sunday December 04, 2022

'Neutrals' should always remain neutral, says President Arif Alvi

"Not a bad option," says President Alvi on appointing next army chief before November

By Hamid Mir
July 26, 2022
President Arif Alvi.
President Arif Alvi.

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Tuesday said that the "neutrals" of the country should always remain neutral and backed the idea of appointing an army chief before November considering the prevailing political crisis in the country.

The president was asked "is it not a good option to appoint the chief before the set time" to which he said, "not a bad idea".

He said that this "elephant in the room is not new; it has been there for the last 50 years".

"This is a ground reality and can be solved through dialogue," Alvi said in a rare chat with journalists.

On a question of a grand dialogue between the political parties to end the crisis, Alvi said as president he does not have the constitutional role to ask stakeholders to hold talks.

"It is only possible if all the stakeholders agree to it and then the President House can play a role," he said, as calls grow in the country for negotiations amid reports that the establishment is mulling a "soft intervention".

He added that he is asked to "play  his role" in the assistance of any of the services chiefs but "I can not do that."

Echoing his party leader Imran Khan, Alvi said in the case of a changing situation one must also change their opinion.

The president said he is against the presidential power to dissolve assemblies under Article 58 2(b) - the provision which has not been removed from the constitution through the 18th Amendment.

"A parliamentary system of governance is the best," he said.

In response to a question, President Arif Alvi said "neutrals should always remain neutral".

About a presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, which was quashed by the Supreme Court, Alvi said the reference was sent to him and he forwarded it.

It is pertinent to note that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had admitted that it was a mistake to file the case against the SC judge.

Relationship with Shahbaz govt

While speaking about his relationship with the government of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he said it is wrong to say that his ties with the PM are not good.

Alvi said since the new government came into power it sent me 74 summaries and "I returned 69 of them with my assent the same day".

"Only summaries related to NAB ordinance, EVM machines and governor Punjab were withheld and there was no pressure on me to do so."

The president said that he has certain questions in  mind that he wanted clarifications on. He also denied that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had any role in the matter.

Last contact with Imran Khan

President Arif Alvi said that the last time he talked with his party chairman was during the Punjab governor issue. "I communicate with Imran Khan on WhatsApp."

Article 6

Commenting on a Supreme Court judge's note in the case of  former NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri's ruling during the chief minister of Punjab election, Alvi said he did not violate the constitution or commit treason.

"Charge whoever committed treason under Article 6."