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PM says ample time to decide on army chief's tenure extension

07 Jan, 2022
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM House in Islamabad on November 19, 2019. PID/File
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM House in Islamabad on November 19, 2019. PID/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the government has “not thought” about the extension in the tenure of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who will finish his tenure in November this year.

“Now the year has just started, November is too far away. What is the problem, we will decide when the time comes,” the premier said in a one-on-one interview that Dunya TV Islamabad Bureau Chief Khawar Ghumman conducted on Thursday.

In view of the “regional security environment,” PM Imran had on August 19, 2019 approved an extension in the tenure of COAS Gen Qamar for another three years. The incumbent army chief was elevted to the position by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016. Then, the Senate on January 8, 2020, approved a law that allowed the government to extend the term of the three services chiefs and the chairman of the joint chief of staff committee after the National Assembly passed such bills.

The other day, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar had said it wouldn’t be “befitting” for him to comment on “speculation” regarding the the extension of the tenure of the army chief.

As per the interviewer, he quizzed the PM about speculation regarding his government completing his term.

“Personally I have no threat in any way from the opposition. All allies are with us and we will complete our five-year term,” he responded while showing no concerns over the opposition’s stand of tabling a no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly.

Moreover, the premier reportedly added that the ruling party’s “biggest failure” was not completing the accountability process as it had promised before elections.

He lamented that people were being released despite evidence against them. But, PM Imran reportedly added, he was hopeful of the ongoing Federal Investigation Agency’s investigation against Shehbaz Sharif.

“As per the recovered evidence, I don’t think Shehbaz can get away,” he added.

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On a query related to the local government elections, the premier admitted that the party suffered a lot after the defeat in the first phase of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s LG polls. However, he was hopeful that PTI would but up a better performance in the Punjab LG elections.

He reportedly added that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar was performing well but “not getting any media projection.”