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Appointment of COAS: PM, I came to London to seek Nawaz’s guidance, says Khawaja Asif

By News Desk
November 11, 2022
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif. — APP
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif. — APP 

ISLAMABAD: PMLN senior leader and Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif Thursday confirmed that he and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had discussed the appointment of the new army chief with PMLN supremo Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in London.

Speaking in Geo News programme Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath, Asif said he accompanied Premier Shehbaz to London to seek Nawaz Sharif’s guidance on the issue of army chief’s appointment.

He said Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s farewell visits were a clear indication where the military wanted to lead the situation to. He ruled out the imposition of martial law in the country and expressed confidence that the army won’t take that unconstitutional step.

The defence minister said no final decision on the new army chief’s appointment had been made yet but he thought things would come out in the open in a day or two, putting all rumours and gossiping to rest for good.

“Basically, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and I visited Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to seek his guidance on the appointment of the army chief,” Asif said, adding that PTI chief Imran Khan wanted to make the army chief’s appointment a controversial issue.

Kh Asif said Imran had locked horns with the establishment in last November because he wanted to throw his weight around on the November appointment. Continuing, Asif said the summaries for appointment of the army chief in 2016 and 2018 came after November 18 and this old tradition will remain in vogue. He said the old tradition of moving summary for appointment of COAS will continue. He said the ISPR statement was a vital sign as to where the institution wanted to take the matter.

The defence minister said there was mounting pressure from all sides, including Imran Khan, on the new army chief’s appointment. To a question, he said on no occasion did Premier Shehbaz hinted at an extension in the tenure of army chief.

Asif condemned the attack on Imran Khan in Wazirabad but said the PTI chief went to the extent of politicising the incident. “Imran received no bullets but gunshot residue. He neither got himself medically checked on the spot nor was the post-mortem examination of the man killed in the attack conducted. The post-attack situation created by Imran has diluted the public sympathy for him. His own government in Punjab has not registered an FIR [of the incident]. All his episodes are proving to be fake now,” Asif said.

Asif charged that Imran always bit the hand that fed him adding that he also abandoned those who paved his way to the prestigious office of prime minister. Asif said Imran wanted to sabotage the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS). Such things bring a bad name to the country, damage the economy and sour our relations with the other countries, he added.