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Internal rift within Pakistan govt over appointment of new Army chief

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday initiated the keenly anticipated consultations with his government allies on the all-important appointment of a new Army chief, even as Defence Minister Khawaja Asif revealed that a name would be announced by Tuesday or Wednesday, the Dawn News reported on Saturday.

Internal rift within Pakistan govt over appointment of new Army chief gcw
First Published Nov 19, 2022, 5:00 PM IST

With prominent officials of the ruling coalition making inconsistent remarks on the crucial topic, disagreements over the selection of the next Army commander appear to have grown in the Pakistani government. It is an administrative matter to choose General Qamar Javed Bajwa, 61, who will lead the Army until his retirement on November 29, as his replacement. The law gives the current prime minister the authority to choose any of the top three-star generals.

According to the Dawn News on Saturday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif began the eagerly awaited consultations with his coalition partners on Friday regarding the crucial appointment of a new Army chief, despite Defence Minister Khawaja Asif's announcement that a name would be revealed by Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that the next Army leader will be chosen within a day or two after deliberations were finished. Any delay on the case, he claimed, would not be "proper."

Another noteworthy occurrence was when Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari stated that his party supported the army's advancement system and that the institution would be harmed if the military chief's selection was politicised.

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The Dawn story cited sources that claimed that Prime Minister Sharif, who is still in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19, had also met with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), over the appointment of the Army commander.

In accordance with the regulations, the army submits a list of potential candidates for the position of army chief, and a summary is forwarded to the prime minister via the Defence Ministry to make the selection. The induction ceremony of the new Army chief will take place on November 29.

(With PTI inputs)

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