Pak FM slams ‘national obsession’ over Army chief appointment

Bilawal reiterated that any decision on these lines would reflect the government’s resolve to stick with the Constitution…reports Asian Lite News

Terming the gossip, debate and speculation over the upcoming appointment of the chief of army staff “unfortunate”, Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has warned that “the national obsession with this particular office would not contribute to the stability of our democracy, nor would it help the nation to grow”, the media reported.

Talking to reporters after attending a ceremony at the Dow University of Health Sciences’ (DUHS) Ojha Campus, Bhutto-Zardari was quite upfront with his views, even criticising leaders from the ruling coalition who were constantly discussing the army chief’s appointment in the public domain and on national media, Dawn reported.

“It’s so unfortunate that for a quite long time, this appointment of COAS is being discussed,” he said to a question about the recent remarks of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s “consultation” over the choice of the new chief.

“We are witnessing totally unnecessary politics on this subject. Whether these people are in the ruling parties or in the opposition, we should not do this. We should keep our national interest as our priority. His (Imran Khan) politics actually revolve around this issue (COAS appointment), and let me say that until our politics don’t come out of this subject, our democracy will not get stronger and we won’t grow as a nation.”

He reiterated that any decision on these lines would reflect the government’s resolve to stick with the Constitution, Dawn reported.

Imran takes a step back

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that the party has taken a step back on the issue of the army chief’s appointment, media reports said.

The former Premier made the comments while in conversation with senior journalists at his residence in Lahore, the Express Tribune reported.

He also said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif wants an army chief of his choice to be appointed, “who will take care of his cases”.

He added that no army chief will ever go against the institution, state or the people, Express Tribune reported.

Regarding the allegations in the Toshakhana case – after a Dubai-based businessperson claimed in an interview to a private TV channel that he had bought some of the state’s gifts from Farah Gogi and Shahzad Akbar, the deposed Prime Minister said that he will file a case against the relevant persons in Dubai, London, and Pakistan.

Imran Khan also said that the gifts sold in the Toshakhana case were sold in Islamabad, adding that receipts and dates were in the government’s treasury and that the case will be over once evidence is presented, Express Tribune reported.

Talking about relations with the US, the PTI Chairman said that he does not want a fight with the US and wants positive and better relations.

He reiterated that his statement on the “foreign conspiracy narrative” was misrepresented.

He also maintained that a country that does not have rule of law will never progress, adding that only implementation of rule of law could make a nation ‘free’.

About talks with the government, the PTI chief said that the party was being approached for negotiations, but “we have asked them to announce the date of elections”.

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