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President in Lahore to meet Imran, Asif expects political maturity

President Arif Alvi (left), Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — AFP/Instagram

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif wants President Dr Arif Alvi to protect the country from political conflicts with latter currently in Lahore to meet PTI Chairman Imran Khan at his Zaman Park residence for a consultation on the army chief’s appointment, Geo News reported Thursday.

In a major development earlier today, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif picked Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the next chief of army staff (COAS) and Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).

Taking to Twitter, Asif said:

“The advice has gone to President Alvi. Now it’s Imran Khan’s test whether he wants to strengthen the institution of the country’s defence or make it controversial.”

The statement came in response to PTI chief’s claim that he would be consulted once the summary was received and that he and President Alvi would “play within the law”.

However, according to sources, President Alvi — a key member of PTI — had said that he would not create hurdles in the appointment of the new top military officials.

“This is also a test for President Alvi if he will follow political advice or constitutional and legal advice. As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, it is his duty to protect the country from political conflicts,” Asif added in his tweet today.

During a media talk in Islamabad following the federal cabinet meeting later, the defence minister said that all the matters had been settled in line with the Constitution.

The minister added that it was expected that President Alvi would approve the premier’s advice.

PTI will cause no obstacle in army chief’s appointment: Shibli

With all eyes on how PTI will respond to the development, former federal minister Shibli Faraz said on his party’s behalf that it wouldn’t create any obstacles over the army chief’s appointment.

The statement came in response to a question if there was a possibility that President Alvi would hinder the approval of the summary sent to him.

“PTI will not create any obstacles in the army chief’s appointment,” Faraz said.

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