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‘Govt to name new army chief in a week’

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ISLAMABAD: The government has not yet finalised the name of the new army chief. However, it is likely to make the apppointment in a week or so, revealed the State Minister for Capital Administration Tariq Fazl Chaudhry on Friday.

“The government has not yet decided [as to who will be the new army chief]but is likely to announce his name in week or ten days’ time,” said Chaudhry in response to a question asked during a news conference which he addressed together with PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz. Army chief General Raheel Sharif is set to retire in November this year and has announced not to seek an extension in his tenure.

The PML-N leaders criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, who, they claimed, spoke against Pakistan Army in connection with the ongoing military operation in tribal areas during his foreign trips.

They also alleged that Imran Khan received funds from the United States and the Indian lobby for staging his 2014-marathon sit-in in Islamabad. This time around, Imran has sought help from militant groups to make his upcoming protest in Islamabad a success, they claimed.

The PTI has announced plans to paralyse the federal capital on November 2 in a bid to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to present himself for accountability in the wake of the Panama Papers.

In January, the Pakistan Army rubbished reports that the army chief would seek to extend his tenure from three to four years. “Speculations about extension in service of COAS are baseless,” the ISPR Director General Lt-General Asim Saleem Bajwa said in a Twitter message. While quoting the army chief, ISPR said national interest is supreme and will be safeguarded at all costs.

Further, the Islamabad High Court dismissed this week a petition seeking to elevate the current Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to the rank of field marshal.

Justice Aamer Farooq stated that the petitioner’s contention regarding the elevation to the post of field marshal” falls within the domain of the legislature and no direction can 144% be issued to the legislator to this effect”.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2016.

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