Army chief to be appointed ‘in a day or two’: Sanaullah

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Zardari warns against ‘politicising’ appointment of army chief

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Friday said the matter of the next army chief’s appointment would be settled in a “day or two”.

In an interview with a news channel, Sanaullah said: “I believe the prime minister has completed this process (of consultation about the army chief appointment) and will bring it to paper, today or tomorrow or the next two days, [it] takes no time.”

Upon further questioning, the interior minister seemingly reproached the inter adding that in his opinion there “is not a lot of time left to this decision and it will come before you”.

Sanaullah said that a further delay in the matter would not be “appropriate” and the next army chief would be appointed in the next two days.

The interior minister also alleged that the purpose of the PTI’s march to Islamabad was the army chief’s appointment, rather than snap elections. “The long march is not really present anywhere — it’s only on the media,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a statement Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday said that all three-star generals are equal and fully qualified to head the army. However, he feared that if the matter of appointing the next army chief became political, it will harm the institution.

“We strongly believe in the promotion system of the Pakistan Army. All three-star generals are equal and fully qualified to lead the army,” Zardari said.

The PPP leader said that the matter of appointment should not be politicised as it will harm the institution, adding that the army chief will be appointed by the prime minister as per the law.

Meanwhile, the initial consultation process between the government and coalition partners on the high-profile appointment has begun.

According to sources, the coalition partners have assured the federal government of their full cooperation. The consultation process took place during the meetings between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and JUI-F Amir Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Asif Ali Zardari. Imran Khan’s long march and overall political situation of the country were also discussed during the meetings.

Former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif also held telephonic conversations with the political leaders during the meetings.

The sources said that the coalition partners urged the prime minister to take decisions as per the Constitution regarding the appointment of the army chief and other important matters.

They were of the opinion that the country will move towards political and economic stability if decisions are taken in unison.

In the meetings, it was decided not to give importance to the narrative of Imran Khan and his long march. The three major coalition partners also agreed to work together in near future, the sources further said.

Given the past practice, the ministry of defence will send a list of the top five generals to the Prime Minister’s Office for the appointment of chairman joint chiefs of staff committee and the chief of the army staff. However, the prime minister can ask for more names if he is not satisfied with the list.

The summary for the appointments of key slots in the military will likely be moved closer to the retirement date of Gen Bajwa. The formal announcement is likely to be made only a few days before the change of command.

Following are the top five generals after Gen Bajwa: Lt-Gen Asim Munir, Quarter Master General, Lt-Gen Sahir Shahmshad Mirza, Corps Commander Rawalpindi, Lt-Gen Azhar Abbas, Chief of General Staff, Lt-Gen Numan Mahmood, President National Defence University and Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed, Corps Commander Bahawalpur.

 

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