LONDON: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said that the appointment of the chief of the army staff (COAS) was not a political issue and the prime minister (PM) was not bound to build a political consensus for it, ARY News reported on Thursday.
While talking to the media in London, Khawaja Asif said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had appointed four army chiefs and all COAS appointments remained undisputed.
The defence minister said that during the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) led government, Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shehbaz Sharif is going to appoint a fifth army chief. “PM is not bound to build political consensus for the appointment of the army chief in accordance with the law and the Constitution.”
“Those who were claiming the end of the political career of Nawaz Sharif should see that his younger brother is the prime minister now. Nawaz Sharif will return to the country soon.”
“I am hopeful that Nawaz Sharif will get justice very soon. A commission should be constituted to probe into the happenings in the country during the last five years.”
Asif alleged that the joint investigation team (JIT) on Panama revelations had aimed to topple Nawaz Sharif’s government. “The game played under the supervision of [former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP)] Saqib Nisar was exposed.”
“The era of injustice has ended and everyone will face accountability. Who will be held accountable for the five years of Maryam Nawaz?”
The defence minister said that Imran Khan’s audio leak exposed ‘a conspiracy against national security’ and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief violated the Official Secrets Act.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa is the 10th and current Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) since 29 November 2016 and he is scheduled to retire in November 2022.
Earlier in the month, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had said that the incumbent unity government will not make any haste in the appointment of new COAS.
He had said that the former prime minister Imran Khan has given a controversial remark over the appointment of COAS and he will not be spared over it. “Scandalising the appointment of the army chief is not a service to the nation in anyway,” he said.
PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan had earlier clarified that he did not talk about the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s extension but urged to maintain merit and defer the appointment of the army chief until fresh elections.