No concession for Imran on misleading remarks about army chief’s appointment: Khawaja

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Thursday said the government would extend no concession to former premier Imran Khan for his misleading remarks on the army chief’s appointment and it would be probed thoroughly before proceeding any legal action.

In an interview to a foreign news channel, the Defence Minister said that he would not take any decision under the pressure of anyone regarding the appointment of the army chief. Asif said that the controversial statement of Imran Khan regarding the appointment of the army chief would be investigated before taking legal action.

It should be noted that in his address to the rally in Faisalabad on Sunday, Imran Khan accused the leaders of the ruling coalition, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari, saying that they were not conducting the elections because the appointment of the new army chief in November. According to him [Imran Khan], these two were trying to bring their favorite army chief.

The statement of the former prime minister faced criticism from political and military circles and the spokesperson of the army has also said in a statement that the attempt to make the top leadership of the army controversial at a critical time was very sad.

To a query, Khawaja Asif said that there were still three months left for the appointment of the new army chief and the government would not take a hasty decision in this regard. He added that it was the government’s priority to restore the sanctity and dignity of the institution on the issue of the appointment of the army chief. ‘We will not allow the issue of appointment of army chief to become controversial’, the Minister said.

The Defense Minister said, tell me one incident in the 75-year history of Pakistan that the appointment of an army chief was announced two or three months or a month ago, adding that that making the process of appointing the army chief controversial was not a service to the nation and the country, but he considered it as enmity.

The minister said that the procedure for appointing the Chief of Army Staff was enshrined in the Constitution, whereby the names of four or five senior generals were submitted to the Prime Minister by the Army, out of which the Prime Minister appoints one at his discretion. .

On the question of consultation with the coalition parties on the issue of the appointment of the army chief, Khawaja Asif said that while being in the coalition government, it was necessary to consult in important decisions. “Certainly, the names that come forward from the army will also be put before the coalition leaders.”

He made it clear that in this process the government would not deviate from the rules and the decision will be taken according to the pre-established rules and law. Khawaja Asif said that in the context of national defense, Pakistan was facing extraordinary situations for the last 20 years. He said that in these uncertain conditions, the appointments of the chiefs of the three armed forces have been taking place.

He said that the political and economic conditions in the country were not favorable at present, ‘but if we talk about the defense establishment, there are absolutely no abnormal conditions’.

Khawaja Asif said that this was the first time that media interest had increased in the appointment of the army chief and has made it a topic of discussion and Imran Khan was also commenting on it at the public level.

The Defence Minister clarified that Pakistan’s territory was not used in the US drone attack in Afghanistan.

He said that Pakistan’s air and land routes have been used before the withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan, but currently, Islamabad has no such agreement with Washington.

He said Pakistan wants stability in its disturbed neighboring country and for this, all possible support is provided to Afghanistan.

Khawaja Asif said that the Afghan Defence Minister did not name any country in his statement, so he cannot speculate about it. However, of Pakistan’s policy was clear that it would not allow its territory to be used against Afghanistan.

He said that the interests of Pakistan and Afghanistan were common and both the neighboring countries have to protect mutual interests with brotherhood which was also beneficial for the region. (APP)