Sanaullah suggests abolishment of legislation allowing extension in COAS’s tenure

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Monday said that the legislation to extend the tenure of the army chief introduced during PTI’s government should be abolished in order to avoid conflicts and politics over the appointment of the new chief of army staff.

The interior minister, in an interview with a private channel, said that the legislation will keep disturbing every army chief in the future as well.

Sanaullah emphasised the need for devising a formula for the appointment of COAS. Juxtaposing the procedure of the appointment chief justice of Pakistan, the interior minister said that the senior-most officer should be appointed as the next army chief through a judiciary-like system.

“The prime minister has discretion regarding the army chief’s appointment,” he said, adding that the prime minister should consult with all the stakeholders about the appointment.

The interior minister said that PM Shahbaz will announce the name of the new COAS in the next few days.

Responding to a question about the differences between PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PM Shahbaz over the name of the next army chief, the interior minister denied all reports terming the as “rumours”.

No consultation between Nawaz, PM Shahbaz on COAS appointment
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif revealed that the army chief’s appointment will be done at the prime minister’s discretion.

Speaking with journalists outside the National Assembly, the minister said: “The prime minister has discretion regarding the army chief’s appointment; therefore, the prime minister will make a decision on the appointment.”

When questioned if a decision on the army chief’s appointment has been made, the defence minister responded in the negative.

In response to another question about the role of Nawaz in the appointment, Asif said that it will be done at the “premier’s discretion” and he will decide.

When asked if Nawaz was not being consulted on the matter, the minister said: “Consultations have not yet taken place on the army chief’s appointment. These are just newspaper reports.”

Last week, PM Shahbaz flew to London — after returning from his visit to Egypt to attend and co-host the United Nations’ COP27 — where he met the PML-N supremo and the party’s senior leadership.

It was reported that discussions during these high-level meetings revolved around crucial political matters in Pakistan including the new army chief’s appointment.

Meanwhile, after extending his visit twice following health reasons, the prime minister returned to Islamabad earlier today; however, the decision on the important appointment — according to the defence minister — is yet to be taken.

November 15, 2022


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