Pakistan PM To Select New Army Chief, Says Defense Minister After Imran Demands Deferment


New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will appoint a new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in November and will visit China, the country’s Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said.

He further accused former prime minister Imran Khan of raking up controversy for personal benefit, news agency ANI reported citing local media. These remarks were made by Asif days after Imran Khan demanded that the next COAS should be selected after fresh elections.

Army chief General Javed Bajwa, 61, would retire on November 29 and his successor is expected to be announced by the prime minister who is legally authorized to appoint the army chief.

“Former premier Nawaz Sharif has fulfilled this political responsibility four times and Shehbaz will do the same in November,” Asif said in response to a question while addressing a press conference on Saturday.

He said that the policy over the Army chief’s appointment was clear in the Constitution but Khan was trying to make it controversial.

“He just wants to make the Army chief’s appointment controversial,” he said, adding that no one had any doubt about the loyalty of the head of the Army to the Constitution and the institutions, according to PTI.

Khan said in an interview that Sharif was not competent enough to appoint the new Army chief and that the issue should be left for the next government. He also demanded fresh elections, the report further said.

Minister Khawaja Asif also said that Shehbaz Sharif will visit China in the first week of November at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. He apprised the media personnel that the invitation was extended by Xi during their meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.

Additionally, the Defense Minister said Russian President Vladimir Putin has also invited Sharif to visit Moscow and that this visit will also take place. Khawaja Asif said that Russia has shown a willingness to export wheat and gas to Pakistan, Daily Pakistan reported citing the state broadcaster.

(With agency inputs)


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