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Monday May 27, 2024

Army to get new chief by 25th: Khawaja Asif

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the process for appointment of the army chief had begun and a letter in this regard had been dispatched to the army's headquarters (GHQ)

By Muhammad Anis
November 22, 2022
Khawaja Asif addressing the National Assembly of Pakistan. Twitter
Khawaja Asif addressing the National Assembly of Pakistan. Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Monday the process for appointment of the army chief had begun and a letter in this regard had been dispatched to the General Headquarters (GHQ).

Speaking in the National Assembly and earlier talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Asif rejected reports of a deadlock on naming the new army chief. Earlier, in a brief Monday morning message on Twitter, the defence minister said the process for making appointments to the top slots of the military had started.

He said the defence ministry received the letter from the prime minister on Monday and communicated the same to the GHQ. “Let us hope that we cross this threshold, a state of unrest ends and the country moves towards stability,” the defence minister said.

He rejected reports that the Prime Minister’s Office had received a summary from the defence ministry and said, “This is exactly the situation which I am telling you that the prime minister has received no summary,” adding that dossiers would also be received along with the summary.

“We will discuss the names when we receive the summary containing five to six names,” Asif told the media adding that the military leadership would also be taken into confidence on naming the new army chief.

To a question, he said the prime minister would receive a summary from the defence ministry in a day or two and the whole process would be completed by November 25. “To subside unrest which is created today, I want to tell that the Ministry of Defence received a letter from the Prime Minister’s House on Monday and the same was sent to the GHQ.”

He advised the media to avoid creating unrest, and maintain sanctity of the issue. He observed that the media had created a situation by telling people that the prime minister had received the summary.

He said the PML-N was consulting its allies over the appointment and there was no pressure on the government in this regard. Talking about the media hype, he said it was high time to show responsibility as the issue pertained to the appointment of the chief of the army which defends the country.

“Let us show respect to them and give them an opportunity to stay with their pledge to remain neutral,” he said. Speaking in the National Assembly, Khawaja Asif said over the last 60 to 70 years, the lines drawn by the Constitution were blurred but now the establishment had decided to play their constitutional role by putting behind the extra-constitutional role.

“Regretfully, Imran Khan is taunting their pledge to stay neutral,” the defence minister said. For the sake of power, Imran Khan is damaging the country’s integrity and the state institutions which extended unconditional support to him in the last four years but he could not deliver despite all favourable circumstances, he added.

Asif said people in the government in the last around 70 years received gifts from Toshakhana but Imran Khan was the first person who sold them. “The record of receipts show that first he sold out gifts and then deposited the amount into the government account,” Asif said, adding that Imran Khan made the sale of gifts a business when he was in power and now he had been caught red-handed.

He said it was unfortunate that the things were engineered in the last 10 to 15 years for which all the institutions, the executive, the judiciary and politicians were responsible. The defence minister observed that after pointing a finger at the US and the establishment for his removal from power, Imran had now absolved them of the charge.

“But at the same time Imran Khan said at least they (establishment) could have prevented the vote of no-confidence against him,” he said. “Politicians were used to invite the establishment to intervene. The executive was hand in glove with the establishment and politicians, while the establishment also ruled the country for 36 to 37 years and for the remaining time, they managed things,” he said. Asif said when somebody asked him if the government and establishment were on the same page, he said, “We are on the page of the Constitution and law.”