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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Imran Khan’s remarks on COAS extension causes storm

Imran Khan's recent remark on the Army Chief's extension is taking social media by storm. His critics are calling it another "U-Turn."

PTI Chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks on the extension of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) have caused quite a storm in Pakistan.

Imran Khan, in an interview with a private news channel, proposed to extend the tenure of COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa till the next elections. While Imran Khan did not take, General Bajwa’s name, he did say that the appointment of an army chief should be deferred until the government is elected, which should then choose the new military head.

“I have stated that the position of the army chief is very important. The appointment has to be done on merit. I will repeat time and again that it should be done on merit,” Imran explained while building his case for the new army chief’s appointment after the elections.

Read more: COAS Bajwa awarded “Order of the Union Medal” by UAE

He said neither Asif Ali Zardari nor Nawaz Sharif fulfilled the criteria of merit to appoint the new army chief, adding they both lacked the moral ground to be part of such an important decision-making process. However, he added that if the two parties win ‘free and fair’ elections, then they may appoint the army chief of their own choosing.

“Hold fresh elections. If they [the coalition government] wins, they can choose their own army chief,” Imran Khan said.

Reaction to Imran Khan’s latest statement on Army

Pertinent to mention that COAS Bajwa is due to retire as Chief of Army Staff on 29 November 2022 after having been granted a three-year extension. Therefore, Imran Khan’s statement is being considered a possible agreement or a suggestion to extend COAS Bajwa’s appointment, albeit for a short period.

Moreover, Imran Khan has made quite the headlines this year – ever since he was ousted – for his remarks on the Army Chief. Recently, he alleged that the PPP and PML-N were opposing fresh elections, because they wanted to “appoint an army chief of their choice” in November to save their skin in corruption cases.

Read more: Imran Khan faces heat for controversial remarks on COAS appointment

Imran Khan’s recent remark is taking social media by storm. His critics are calling it a “U-Turn”, or that perhaps he has allegedly struck some sort of deal with the Establishment.

On the other hand, some experts believe that Imran Khan did not even mention COAS Bajwa in his interview and his remarks are being blown out of proportion.