FORMER Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has defended his ‘controversial’ remarks about the top military brass, saying “under any circumstances, thieves cannot be allowed to appoint the next army chief”.
Addressing a public meeting in Peshawar on Tuesday, he said every well-wisher of any institution will speak about merit because institutions can only progress when they are strengthened.
Imran Khan had said that he would clarify his remarks about appointment of the next COAS at his rally in Peshawar but the clarification has raised more issues than settling the controversy.
We have been emphasizing in these columns that all senior generals eligible for promotion as the Army Chief were promoted to their existing ranks on merit and because of their professional calibre and experience.
Appointment of COAS is, in fact, a question of picking up the first among equals on the basis of a well-defined criterion and there should be no attempt to scandalize the process.
There is a legitimate government in the country and the next Chief of Army Staff would be appointed as per laid down procedure when the time approaches for the purpose.
One fails to understand why the PTI leader is so concerned about the appointment and on what basis he feared merit would be ignored.
It is perplexing that on the one hand Imran Khan claims he never wanted to weaken the army as Pakistan has been spared by “wrath” that other Muslim countries had faced due to the strong army but on the other hand unnecessary controversies are triggered that can harm the interest and image of the institution.
The tendency to label national leadership as thieves and traitors is also unfortunate and needs to be curbed by all parties and their leadership as this serves no other purpose than vitiating the atmosphere for much-needed national solidarity and harmony.