As Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure is about to end later this month, several media reports are claiming that the much-awaited formal process for appointment of a new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has begun.
Various media reports have claimed that Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office has received the summary from the ministry of defence regarding the appointment of a new army chief. However, some journalists have described the reports as speculation. The Prime Minister’s Office on Monday received the summary from the ministry of defence regarding the appointment of a new army chief, The Express Tribune reported citing sources. The sources revealed that the names of five people have been mentioned in the summary.
The Prime Minister’s Office has not yet confirmed the development. A senior government official had refuted claims that there was a deadlock between the military and civil leadership over the appointment of Pakistan’s next Chief of Army Staff.
The high-ranking official while requesting anonymity said that “a clear picture will emerge by Monday evening regarding the process of appointment.” Notably, the new army chief is due to assume duty on November 29 as the tenure of incumbent COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa will end after being in office for six years.
As per the report, many believe that former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s long march is linked to the change of command in the army. He has called on his supporters to gather in Rawalpindi on November 26, two days before the change in army chief.
There have been speculations that the government and the army were not on the same page over the appointment of a new army chief. However, a top government official said, “There are no differences between the civil and military leadership on the issue. Everything is on track,” The Express Tribune reported.
The seniority list includes Lieutenant General Asim Munir, Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lieutenant General Azhar Abbas, Lieutenant General Numan Mahmud and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed are in contention for the post of chief of army staff and chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, as per the news report.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the appointment process will begin on Monday while the appointment of the new chief will be made on Tuesday or Wednesday, Dawn reported. He further said that the government “cannot ignore the importance of the army in the system.” Some media reports have claimed that President Arif Alvi could hold the notification for 25 days.
Dismissing the reports, Prime Minister’s spokesperson Fahd Hussain has said that no such action will be taken by the President and added
that the prime minister has the power to select the best-suited person for the post.
Fahd Hussain stated that the President will also play his “constitutional role as spelt out in the process,” as per the Dawn report. On November 19, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari advised Alvi against creating any “sort of disorder” in the appointment of COAS.
Earlier on November 18, ex-Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said that he strongly believed in the promotion process in the army. He further stated that all three-star generals were “equal and fully qualified” to be the Chief of Army Staff.
Zardari further said, “The issue of appointing the Army Chief should not be political in any case, it will harm the institution. According to the law, the Army Chief will be appointed by the Prime Minister.”(ANI)