'Taken out of context': Khawaja Asif clarifies statement regarding elections

Khawaja Asif says he agrees with Zardari's statement about elections after electoral and NAB reforms

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Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif. — AFP/File
Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif. — AFP/File 

  • Khawaja Asif says his statement was taken out of context.
  • Asif agrees with Zardari's statement about elections after electoral and NAB reforms. 
  • "Decision regarding elections will be based on economic decisions," he says.

Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif Wednesday clarified his statement regarding general elections in November and said that it was taken out of context. 

Speaking on a Geo News programme, Asif said he agrees with PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari's statement that elections should be held before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and electoral reforms. 

The defence minister said that there is no disagreement regarding the reforms among the coalition parties and the government would hold elections after consultations with the allies. 

He went on to say that the elections will be held after legislation. 

Asif said that important decisions regarding the economic situation would be taken in the next 24 hours, adding that there is time for political decisions but not for economic decisions. "There is an emergency situation on the economic front at the moment," he added.

The PML-N leader said that the government is ready to make difficult decisions, adding that the government will decide when to hold the elections once matters on the economic front are taken care of.

Criticising the PTI government, Asif said why should the government bear the brunt of Imran Khan's wrongdoings.

"We will tell the nation the PTI is responsible for these difficult decisions," he added.  

While talking on another Geo News programme earlier, Asif had said that he was asked about the appointment of the chief of army staff during his BBC interview, to which he said the government would decide his appointment.

'Election likely in Pakistan before appointment of new army chief'

In an interview with BBC Urdu earlier in the day, the defence minister had said that there is a possibility of the general election in Pakistan being held in November, prior to the appointment of the new army chief.

The defence minister said that the caretaker government might leave before November and a new government will come into power.

Asif further mentioned that if Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed’s name would be on the seniority list, the coalition government will consider him for the post. “All names present on the seniority list will be considered,” he asserted.

“There is a sanctity of the army and should not be a topic of discussion in the public domain,” he said, adding that the process of appointment of the army chief should now be “institutionalised” just how it happens in the judiciary.