COAS to be appointed after consultation with Nawaz Sharif: Khurram Dastagir

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GUJRANWALA: Minister for Energy Khurram Dastagir on Saturday said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will take the decision on the appointment of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) after consultations with party supremo Nawaz Sharif.

Addressing a press conference in Gujranwala, the energy minister, without mentioning PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s name, said that no matter how many times Khan meets with the army chief, the final decision will be taken by the prime minister.

On the other hand, Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif said that no process has been started to extend the army chief’s tenure nor has there been any suggestion under consideration in this regard. He expressed these views while speaking during a press conference in Islamabad.

Earlier this week, the PTI chief suggested an extension in the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa till the next elections.

A day earlier, the former prime minister, while speaking during an interview with a private TV channel, suggested that the appointment of an army chief should be deferred until the government is elected and the incoming government should then choose the new military head.

Asif, while talking about the army chief’s appointment, said that the policy is as per the Constitution as any sitting prime minister in November would decide the nomination of the next army chief. “Nawaz Sharif did the process four times and this time Shehbaz Sharif will do it,” he said. “This issue had never become popular on media and Imran Khan played a very negative role in this regard,” Asif added.

The defence minister said that this is a constitutional procedure and should be done in due time. “The army chief has his loyalty to the state and its Constitution. No one should question it,” he said.

“He just wants to make the army chief’s appointment controversial,” he said, adding that no one has any doubt about the loyalty of the head of the army to the Constitution and the institutions. “Politics is separate but institutions should not be made controversial.”

Asif also said that Imran’s statements in recent days were against the country’s national security, stressing that action should be taken against them. “He (Imran) won’t hesitate in sabotaging Pakistan for his personal benefit.”

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