Defence Minister Khawaja Asif is being criticised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership for suggesting that the army should choose its own chief.
Khawaja Asif made the suggestion during an appearance on a TV show hosted by journalist Talat Hussain. where he was asked about the PTI and PML-N’s inconsistent stance on army chiefs.
The defence minister said, “This controversy should now end,” recalling that he was the defence minister at the time of appointment of incumbent army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, as well as former chief of army staff retired Gen Raheel Sharif.
He added that both time, Nawaz Sharif had been prime minister, and had no ‘personal motivation’ behind the appointments.
“I am telling you all this so as to explain that this is a very transparent process,” he said, condemning PTI Chairperson Imran Khan’s attempts to ‘cast doubts and aspersions’ on the matter of appointment of the new army chief in November.
He asked why there couldn’t be a system within the army for the appointment of the new army chief within the institution itself, quickly adding that he was just ‘thinking out loud’, and had a system similar to the judiciary’s mechanism for appointing chief justices in mind.
Reacting to a clip of Khawaja Asif’s interview, PTI leader and former information minister took to Twitter and called Khawaja Asif a ‘threat to Pakistan’.
Another PTI leader Azhar Mashwani said the defence minister had openly stated the ‘real purpose’ of bringing in the PDM government.
Meanwhile some journalists were also critical of the decision to let the army appoint its own chief.