Wednesday Aug 17, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said Wednesday that the appointment of the army chief should not be turned into a political debate.
"I can assure you that, at the moment, there is no ongoing process regarding the appointment of the army chief," Asif said in response to a question during a press conference.
The army chief's appointment is due in November this year, with Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar already clarifying that COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa will retire on November 29, 2022.
The minister had spoken about the army chief's appointment while addressing a press conference on the government's action against the social media propaganda launched following the Balochistan helicopter crash in Lasbela.
The defence minister had shared that 18 Indian Twitter accounts were involved in the anti-army smear campaign follwing the copter crash.
"The law has come into action," the defence minister said and claimed that in the coming days, "more facts" will be unveiled.
A malicious social media propaganda was started following the martyrdom of army officers in the Balochistan helicopter crash — which took place on August 1.
The defence minister added that the Lasbela helicopter crash was an unfortunate event, and it caused grief to the nation.
"But the entire nation is ashamed [...] after the tweets that came to the fore."
Asif's statement came after sources told Geo News that the government has decided to arrest all the people behind the negative propaganda against the Lasbela helicopter crash on social media.
They added that a campaign was launched against the Pakistan Army by the workers of a political party, and Indian social media accounts actively participated in it.
The defence minister added that earlier PTI Chairman Imran Khan was not speaking about his party leader Shahbaz Gill's statement — that allegedly incited hate against the army.
"He (Khan) witnessed that [Gill's statements] did not give his party any political advantage nor did it benefit him in any other way," Asif said, implying that after these events, the PTI chairman distanced himself from Gill's comments.
Gill was earlier today sent in police custody for 48 hours by a local court in Islamabad.
"They are going to such lengths because of the loss of their power [...] PTI leaders have crossed all boundaries in their statements," the defence minister said.
Taking a jibe at the PTI leaders for claiming that Gill's mental state is disturbed, Asif said that since power was taken away from the PTI, "they have lost their senses".
"Our government does not believe in revenge."