Monday May 29, 2023

Not a bad idea to appoint next COAS before time: Alvi

The president’s statement came in response to a question during an interaction with journalists

By News Desk
July 27, 2022
Not a bad idea to appoint next COAS before time: Alvi

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Tuesday said it was not a bad idea to appoint the next Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) before the time fixed for appointment i.e. November.

The president’s statement came in response to a question during an interaction with journalists. The president was asked what he thought of the suggestion that the new army chief be appointed in advance due to the ongoing political crisis in the country. “It’s not such a bad idea,” he said in response. He explained that he would not object to the COAS’s appointment if it was done according to procedure in practice.

Alvi said it was suggested that he “play his part” after meeting army, naval and air chiefs, which he “cannot do”. He said a dialogue was possible only when all the stakeholders agreed. “The President’s House can play its role only in this case. The neutrals need to remain neutral always,” he said. Elaborating further, he said as the president of Pakistan, he did not have the constitutional authority to ask the parties to have a dialogue. “The elephant in the room has not appeared now, it has been there for 50 years,” he said, adding that the matter was a ground reality and that it could be solved through dialogue. He said he had received 74 summaries since the coalition government came into office and signed and forwarded 69 of them on the day of receiving them. “I held back the summaries regarding the NAB Amendment Ordinance, electronic voting machines and the Punjab governor but didn’t have any pressure to do so,” he said.

When asked, he said he didn’t talk with PTI Chairman Imran Khan on the matter of EVMs and the NAB Amendment Ordinance and the last time they spoke was when there was an issue regarding the Punjab governor.

Moving on to the current situation in top courts, Alvi said he regretted that such an atmosphere had been created. “I had appreciated the Houbara Bustard ruling by Justice Qazi Faez Isa,” he said, adding: “I don’t want to create controversy again and again. I forwarded the reference pertaining to Justice Isa that was sent to me.”

He said a person should change his views if the time and circumstances changed. The parliamentary system was better and he did not support the president’s authority to dissolve assemblies under Article 58-2B of the Constitution of Pakistan. He said Article 6 be applied to one who ever committed treason.

“If anyone believes that I have violated the Constitution, they may try me under Article 6, but I neither violated the Constitution nor suspended it. I personally think that a clear mandate is extremely important no matter what the time is,” he said. Responding to a question about the “foreign threat letter”, Alvi said the matter should be made public if it had been investigated.

The president said the US did not want to end relations with Pakistan. He appreciated Foreign Affairs Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s efforts to strengthen the Pak-US ties. Responding to another question, he said the perception that relations between him and the prime minister were not good was wrong.