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Thursday June 20, 2024

London huddle decides: Senior-most general to be made COAS

PM Shehbaz announced that the army chief’s appointment would be decided constitutionally, and the senior-most officer would be appointed as the next army chief of Pakistan

By Murtaza Ali Shah
November 12, 2022
PM Shehbaz Sharif. The News/File
PM Shehbaz Sharif. The News/File

LONDON: Following his crucial meetings with Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) supremo Nawaz Sharif and other party leaders in London, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday announced that the army chief’s appointment would be decided constitutionally, and the senior-most officer would be appointed as the next army chief of Pakistan.

“Army chief’s appointment is a constitutional matter. It will be decided according to the Constitution,” PM Shehbaz said here before leaving for Pakistan.

But Khawaja Asif said PMLN leaders discussed the appointment of new army chief but the decision will be taken after the start of constitutional process. In a tweet, he said, “The media is rife with speculation that Nawaz-Shehbaz London huddle decided about the appointment of new army chief. The discussion, in this regard, did take place but the decision will be taken with consultation after the start of constitutional process.”

On Nov 2, the premier departed for London after wrapping up his two-day visit to Egypt to attend the COP27 summit. In London, the prime minister and PMLN supremo took important decisions, which also included deliberation on the next army chief’s appointment.

Two rounds of meetings were also attended by Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif and Punjab PMLN leader Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan. Geo News further reported that the meeting decided in principle to prioritise merit for the coveted military position. The Sharif brothers would also take the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leadership into confidence on the matter.

The prime minister’s visit to London came two weeks before the end of Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure, who would retire on Nov 29. Meanwhile, PTI chief Imran Khan also reiterated his stance on appointing the army chief on ‘merit’ and criticised PM Shehbaz for consulting Nawaz for making the decision.