“They can pick whoever they want”: Imran shift stance over army chief appointment

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When asked whether he had demanded that the appointment of a new chief be made in consultation with him and/or his party, Khan said: “No… they can appoint whoever they want.”…reports Asian Lite News

After repeatedly calling for a consultative process before picking the new army chief of Pakistan, former Prime Minister Imran Khan now does not see any problem if the appointment is made by the incumbent Shehbaz Sharif-led government, the media reported.

In an interaction with journalists, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman offered a fresh take on the issue of appointing a new chief of army staff, reports Dawn news.

When asked whether he had demanded that the appointment of a new chief be made in consultation with him and/or his party, Khan said: “No… they can appoint whoever they want.”

Earlier, in several public meetings and remarks made over the course of the past several months, Khan had declared that “the Sharifs and the Zardaris” were unfit to make the appointment to the top military slot on the basis that “thieves cannot be allowed to appoint the next army chief”, Dawn reported.

But when a journalist asked the PTI chief on Tuesday whether incumbent army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa was being given an extension, he responded with: “This is a billion-dollar question.”

Shehbaz Sharif.(photo:instagram)

Khan also revealed that his relations with the military establishment became strained on the issue of “accountability”, adding that the premier should be empowered if the country was to run smoothly.

“I had no issue with the army. Problems only cropped up on accountability matters. However, the army can play a positive role. I believe if the country is to run smoothly, then the Prime Minister should also be given power along with the management,” Dawn news quoted Khan as saying.

He was of the opinion that a coalition government had to make many compromises.

“The Prime Minister can be blackmailed in a coalition… a two-third majority gives strength to the premier,” he added.

Talking to Dawn, a senior PTI leader also confirmed the impression that relations between Khan and the military leadership soured during the PTI government when the latter advised the Prime Minister to shift focus from accountability of opposition leaders to fixing the economy.

“Not budging from his stance, Imran Khan invited trouble,” he added.

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