Army chief appointment: PDM backs PM to make ‘right choice’
The ruling coalition on Wednesday reposed its complete trust in Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in whomever he picks as the next chief of army staff and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee.
This was expressed after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had invited to dinner Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition government partners.
It was attended by senior coalition and government members, including former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PDM President and Jamiat Ulema Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain among others.
During the confab, Shehbaz took coalition members into confidence that he had received a summary from the federal defence ministry containing six names from which to pick two names – one for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the other for the Chief of Army Staff.
He added that he intends to make a decision on the summary soon.
At this, the coalition members unanimously said that it was the prime minister’s constitutional prerogative to decide whom he picks for either post.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) Convenor Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui thanked the premier for consulting coalition partners but said that they have full confidence in him to make the right decision.
Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leader Khalid Magsi said that whatever you decide, we will stand by you.
Zardari said that the constitution had empowered the prime minister to take this decision. Bilawal added that whoever the prime minister decides to appoint as the next army chief will be acceptable to all coalition partners.
Similarly, Chaudhry Shujaat told Shehbaz that he was the elected prime minister and that it was his constitutional right to pick the next chief.
PPP’s Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the prime minister had set a good example by taking coalition partners on board when making a critical decision.
The coalition also backed Shehbaz in taking other critical decisions.
Shehbaz thanked the coalition partners for their confidence. He added that through unity, we would navigate the country out of its current challenges.