In a sequence of dramatic events where President Arif Alvi rushed off to consult with his ‘party’ chief over the summary sent by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the appointment of the new joint chief and the new army chief, ended with a whimper after Alvi fulfilled his constitutional role and granted his seal of approval to the new appointments.
But what happened in Imran Khan’s Zaman Town mansion in Lahore that resulted in the culmination of the drama?
The matter piqued interest when former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had on Wednesday hinted at spoiling the smooth appointment, stating that they would “play with it within the ambit of the law.”
On Thursday, after he had received the advice from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the appointment of Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS), President Alvi flew to Lahore.
He held consultations with PTI Chairman Imran Khan at his mansion. The meeting lasted 45 minutes.
After the meeting, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry told the media that the new names recommended by the prime minister were discussed during the meeting as well. However, Chaudhry said that a handout will be issued by the President later in the evening after returning to Islamabad.
By 6pm, Arif Alvi had returned to the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad and shortly thereafter, news came that he had signed the summary.
The entire process thus, concluded hassle-free albeit a little late.
What happened in Lahore
Alvi met with Imran for around 45 minutes. PTI leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, and Chaudhry Fawad Hussain were also part of the meeting.
According to SAMAA TV Investigative Unit, the meeting was spent with Alvi telling Imran Khan about the sensitivity of the issue and terming it as a matter of defense.
President Alvi asserted that he was not just the head of state, but also the Supreme Commander of the defense forces.
He advised the PTI chairman to refrain from politicking on this sensitive matter and that he could not procrastinate on signing the summary.
The president reiterated that he will act as per the law and Constitution and approve the advice.
“Do not stop me from signing the summary,” Alvi urged Imran, credible sources told SAMAA TV.
Former Foreign Minister and PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi also endorsed Alvi’s stance that it was a matter of national security and the party should refrain from politics.
Eventually, the PTI chief wilted and accepted the decision without expressing his opinion on the subject.
However, PTI official account quoted Imran Khan, “I and President Alvi will act as per the Constitution and Law of the land.”