London confab concludes with consensus over appointment of next army chief

Khawaja Asif says no 'decision' made but only consultations took place. Final decision after process formally begins

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday concluded the fourth round of consultations among the senior leadership of the ruling party over the appointment of the next chief of army staff in Pakistan, with sources suggesting that consensus had been reached on a formula for deciding the name.

The name will be announced after due consultations with coalition partners.

On Friday, a high-level meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leadership was held at Hussain Nawaz’s office, Stanhope House.

The meeting was reportedly attended by Shehbaz, Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, Suleman Shehbaz, Abid Sherali, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, apart from Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is said to have joined in the meeting virtually.

Apart from discussing key challenges facing the country, including the rising pressure from opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, the appointment of the next chief of army staff was also taken up.

Sources suggested that Nawaz Sharif finally granted his approval to a formula for appointing the next army chief.

The agreed formula suggests that either the senior most officer recommended or a particular name would be finalized.

A decision in this regard is expected to be made by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif after consultations with coalition partners after he returns home.

On the long march by Imran, sources said that Nawaz took a tough stance that the government should not give in to the pressure of certain groups to accept any demands or suggestions.

While talking about the opposition, Nawaz’s tone became quite stern.

Moreover, it was decided that there was no question of early elections, adding that the polls would be held on time.

It was further decided that Nawaz Sharif may return to Pakistan later this year.

Asif says ‘constitutional process will follow’

Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, who was part of the consultations in London on Thursday but not today, in a message on Twitter clarified that no “decision” had been made in consultations with party supremo Nawaz Sharif.

“There definitely were consultations, but any decision [on appointment] will be taken following consensus which takes place after the constitutional appointment process begins.”

Nawaz Sharif

PM Shehbaz Sharif

army chief appointment

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