Islamabad [Pakistan], May 11 (ANI): Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that there is the possibility of holding general elections prior to the appointment of the new Army Chief.
“It is possible that we hold elections before the [new] army chief’s appointment, before November. There will be a caretaker government at that time. It is also possible that the caretaker government is gone and the new government is [in power] before November,” Asif was quoted by Dawn newspaper citing an interview to BBC Urdu.
While responding to the impression that former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted over the new army chief’s appointment, Pakistan Defence Minister said, “Imran Khan wanted to do things his own way on the matter of the new army chief’s appointment. He wanted to ensure the protection of his political interests and the continuity of his rule.”
Incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be in the office till November 29 this year, when his second three-year tenure will end, Dawn newspaper reported.
Gen Bajwa was given an extension by the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in 2019.
Regarding another extension to the incumbent COAS, Asif said that Bajwa had already announced that he does not want his tenure to be extended.
The Defence Minister further said that he welcomed the announcement because it had “closed the doors of speculation” and noted that the previous army chief, General (retd) Raheel Sharif, too, had not “directly or indirectly demanded an extension”.
While responding to whether the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) led government, which has previously criticised former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lieutenant Gen Faiz Hameed, would consider him for the army chief’s post, Asif said, “If his name is on the seniority list, it will definitely be considered, according to Dawn. (ANI)