Khawaja Asif says army appointments to be finalised by tomorrow

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said Wednesday that legal process on the summary [for the appointment of army chief and chairman JCSC] was underway and it might take one or two days.

The defence minister was talking to the media informally outside the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad after holding a meeting with PM Shehbaz Sharif.

“Will the senior most be appointed [as army chief] on merit?” a journalist asked a question from the defence minister.

“I do not know. The names will be finalised by tomorrow. The government’s allies and the cabinet will also be taken into confidence on tomorrow’s decision,” Khawaja Asif replied.

“But there is no mentioning of cabinet in Article 243?” another journalist asked a question.

“I do not know about so many articles. You must have read them,” he replied.

“Do you think that after the appointment, the ‘dharna party’ will end its plans?” another question was put to the defence minister.

“I do not want to speculate. But it is expected that the state of agitation that have been prevailing over the past many months will end,” he stated.

“Do you think that the president will follow the due process?” the defence minister was asked another question.

“Be it the president or the prime minister, decisions should be made under the Constitution in the national interest,” he replied.

He also stated that such an appointment should not be a part of public debate.

“There is no truth in the news about objection to the first summary. Media should avoid representing political factions,” he added.

Earlier, the defence minister arrived at the Prime Minister’s House and held an important meeting with the prime minister. Consultation regarding important appointments held during the meeting.

In a tweet earlier Wednesday, Khawaja Asif confirmed that the summary regarding top military appointments has been received by the Prime Minister Office. The minister informed: “The summary was received from the Ministry of Defence in the Prime Minister’s Office. Insha’Allah, the rest of the process will be completed soon.”

An hour before Kh Asif’s tweet, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director general also tweeted that the summary for selection of CJCSC and COAS, containing names of six senior most Lt Generals has been forwarded to the Ministry of Defence ending the confusion surrounding the summary sent by the General Headquarters for the top military appointments.

Though the ISPR tweet didn’t reveal the six names but it is believed they are the senior most military officers including Lt Gen Asim Munir (currently Quarter Master General), Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza (Commander 10 Corps), Lt Gen Azhar Abbas (Chief of General Staff), Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood (NDU Presi­dent), Lt Gen Faiz Hamid (Commander Baha­walpur Corps), and Lt Gen Mohammad Amir (Com­mander Gujranwala Corps).

Earlier, Defence Minister Kh Asif in his tweet posted on Tuesday night denied receiving summary by the PM Office. In less than an hour, the ISPR tweeted that the GHQ has forwarded the summary.

The PM Office also tweeted today confirming the receipt of summary: “The PM Office has received the summary from the Ministry of Defence with a panel of names for the appointment of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Army Staff. The Prime Minister will take a decision on the appointments as per the laid down procedure.”

Meanwhile, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has also confirmed that the summary forwarded by the Ministry of Defence for top military appointments has been received by the Prime Minister Office.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the information minister said that a panel of names for the selection of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Army Staff has been sent.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will make his decision about these appointments according to the set procedure, she concluded.

PM summons special cabinet meeting tomorrow

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has summoned a special meeting of the federal cabinet tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss one-point agenda.

Sources reveal that PM Shehbaz has called a special cabinet meeting tomorrow at 9am to discuss one-point agenda at PM House.

According to sources the prime minster is expected to discuss the military appointments with his cabinet members in tomorrow’s meeting.