Federal Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said on Wednesday about the possibility of holding general elections in Pakistan in November, before the appointment of the new army chief.
As regards the extension of the chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, he stated that the chief of the army had announced that he was not seeking an extension of his term.
Speaking with the BBC Urdu, The minister of defense said that it is possible that the interim government at the time could leave before November and that a new government would take office.
Regarding the extension of the chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, he said that he welcomed his decision not to seek an extension in his tenure.
Appointment process for army chief should be institutionalized
Asif also mentioned that if Lieutenant-General Faiz Hameed’s name was on the seniority list, he would be considered for the position by the coalition government. “All names on the seniority list will be taken into consideration,” he claimed.
“There is a sanctity of the army and it should not be a subject of public discussion.” He added, adding that the process of appointing the head of the army should now be “institutionalized” just as it goes in the apex judiciary.
In order to protect his political interests and the pursuit of his rule over the country, former prime minister Imran Khan wanted to bring a chief of the army of his choosing, BBC Urdu quoted as Asif.
He [Imran Khan] conceals his failures behind a couple of statements. Khan is playing the religious card and withdrawing from the anti-US narrative,’ he said.
Asif heeds anti-establishment statement of Imran Khan ‘disgraceful’
Taking note of the statement of the PTI chairman concerning the neutrality of the institutes, the minister of defense declared: “Now, it is not appropriate for Imran Khan to make the institutions neutral.”
Terming Imran Khan’s anti-establishment statement “disgraceful”, Asif said: “He wants to remain in power”.
Same position on Ukraine-Russia despite new government
In response to a question about Pakistan’s foreign policy, the defense minister said that regional nations should now be at the center of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Asif said there was no change in Pakistan’s position on the Russian-Ukraine war despite a change of regime in the country. He said: “Pakistan’s position with respect to the war between Russia and Ukraine is very clear.”
In response to another question, the minister stated that the request for military bases is not on the table and that Islamabad will not agree to it either.
Criticizing the West for its double standards, Asif said Europe should speak out for the people of Kashmir and Palestine just as it did for Ukraine.