New COAS to be installed through ‘set traditional way’: Asif

LONDON/ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Sunday said that the appointment of the army chief would take place on the same pattern that was being practiced for years and that the consultation process would begin in November.

“The appointment of the army chief will be in accordance with the Constitution and the law,” the defence minister said while talking to media persons outside PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif’s London residence where he arrived accompanying Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Premier Shehbaz is in London to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

Asif said that the army chief’s loyalty was with the country and he was not under any politician, adding that he also had his loyalty to his institution.

“He (army chief) is the one who commands 700,000 officers who are ready to sacrifice their lives on his call,” Asif said, adding that his position should not be made a part of any controversy, especially a political one.

Asif said that the defence ministry and the GHQ would consult on the appointment of the next chief of army staff by October-end and after that the decision will be made.

The defence minister said that the appointment of the next COAS was a routine matter and it was for the first time in history that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was raising a ‘hue and cry’ over the issue. “The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Imran Khan want institutions to intervene.

“Imran proposed postponing the appointment until after the general election and grant an extension [to Gen Bajwa],” the defence minister said.

Asif also told the media persons that he would prefer Nawaz to come home immediately. However, he added that it should be ensured that the PML-N supremo should be granted justice for the injustices he faced back home.

The minister said his government was not “running away” from elections. “We want polls to be held under the Constitution and the law.”

Asif said Imran had been giving similar statements when he had just one seat in parliament.

According to Article 243(3) of the Constitution, the president appoints the services chiefs on the recommendation of the prime minister.

 

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