Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Tuesday confirmed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif had approved the name of the new army chief nominated by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
During an interview with the private channel, Dar said he hopes newly-appointed COAS General Syed Asim Munir will work for the "betterment of his institution and the system overall".
It should be noted that earlier before the appointment, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had said that the army chief's appointment was to be done solely at the prime minister's discretion.
Earlier in November, PM Shehbaz flew to London where he met the elder Sharif and PML-N's senior leadership.
It was reported that discussions during these high-level huddles revolved around crucial political matters in Pakistan including the new army chief's appointment.
However, responding to speculations about the role of Nawaz in the appointment, Asif had said that it would be done at the "premier's discretion" and he would decide.
Dar, during the interview today, revealed that the coalition government had also devised a plan B in case President Arif Alvi rejected the summary sent by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Dar, while sharing details of both plans, mentioned that as per plan A, the government decided to retain those whose names were mentioned in the summary.
“Our plan B was to promote the candidate whose name was presented in the summary and appoint him as the vice-chief of army staff,” the finance minister added.
Shedding light on his meeting with Dr Alvi, Dar said the president suggested holding talks between the leadership of the Pakistan Tehreeek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the coalition government led by the PML-N. However, he added that the president has been informed that the government will not hold talks on conditions.
The financial czar reiterated that early elections seem impossible and will be held as per the schedule.
Dar held back-to-back meetings with President Alvi to discuss the ongoing political situation in the country including the dissolution of assemblies.
Moving on, the federal minister said that he would not play his role in any capacity to woo Chief Minister Punjab Parvez Elahi as his actions had "shocked" him.
At the time of the no-confidence motion against then-prime minister Imran Khan, CM Elahi's intentions weren't clear — he was indecisive about whose camp would he join and at times, it seemed that he would not be siding with the PTI. However, in the end, he joined hands with Khan's party — drawing the ire of the coalition parties.
"Initially, Nawaz Sharif wasn't ready to accept Parvez Elahi. I had made Nawaz agree on Elahi [as a candidate for the chief minister's slot]," Dar added.
He went on to say that it wasn't just former chief of army staff General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa who asked CM Elahi to join the PTI camp, but two other people also advised the same.
"Parvez Elahi told Gen (retd) Bajwa that he had been advised to join PTI's side. In response, Gen (retd) Bajwa said that he should do whatever he pleased."