Ijaz Kakakhel Islamabad
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif is seeing the speculations surrounding the army chief’s appointment ending soon, as the date for the crucial decision about who will be chosen for the top military post draws near.
Talking to journalists, he said that the Chief of Army Staff appointment should not be a topic of public debate. The minister said the legal process is underway for the next COAS, and it will take one or two days.
Asif added that he has no idea whether the new army chief’s appointment will be done on a seniority basis or merit, however, the name will be finalized by tomorrow. “The coalition parties and federal ministers will be taken into confidence on the appointment but regardless of politics, decisions should be made in the national interest,” he added.
During the media talk, a journalist asked whether the army chief’s appointment be done under Article 243 to which the minister replied, “I don’t know about so many articles, you must have read [them], so you know better. Be if the president or prime minister, decisions should be taken as per the constitution and in the national interest.”
Commenting on rumors that Lt Gen Asim Munir will be the next COAS, he stated the ap pointment of the new chief should not be a part of public debate. The Defense Minister said he expected the matter to be finalized before the premier was scheduled to leave for Ankara on a two-day visit at the invitation of Turkish President Reccip Tayyip Erdogan.
When asked whether the matter would be discussed with the cabinet, Asif said he was “unaware” of this as it was a “technical” matter. He reiterated that the matter would be decided once the formalities were completed.
The minister was also asked about whether the PTI would call off its long march after the appointment was finalized.