ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif landed at Islamabad International Airport on Monday after spending nearly a week abroad, first in the Egyptian city of Sharm Al Sheikh where he attended the summit of the COP27, then to London where he met his older brother, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the senior leadership of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
It has been widely speculated in Pakistan that during his stay in London, Prime Minister Sharif held several rounds of discussions and consultations with Nawaz Sharif to make crucial decisions, the first and most important being the appointment of the next head of state. country’s army.
The appointment is due because the retirement date of the outgoing leader, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is approaching, that is to say on November 29.
The government must choose one of the five or six available senior officers of the rank of lieutenant general for the position before or on the eve of November 29.
Longest-serving officer, next army chief?
Although the government, including the prime minister, federal ministers and top party leaders, are silent on ‘who will be the next army chief’, the national media is abuzz with the news that the London meeting between the two brothers decided to appoint the most senior officer as the next chief of the army. Government spokespersons, however, refuse to confirm such a media report and insist that the decision, once made, will be made public.
On Monday, Federal Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, while answering a reporter’s question, confirmed that at the London meetings, issues of national importance were discussed. However, he declined to give further details.
Regarding the appointment of the army chief, he said that it was the sole prerogative of the prime minister to appoint the country’s army chief.
Imran’s marked departure from the “American conspiracy”
Meanwhile, former Pakistani Prime Minister Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has flip-flopped on his earlier position regarding US involvement/conspiracy behind the end of his government in April this year.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Imran Khan made these remarks which came as a surprise to many because since his removal by a vote of no confidence, the leader of the PTI has continued to blame a foreign plot which led to his ousting and that the role of the US administration as a key player behind it.
Visit to Moscow was a mistake: Imran
The PTI president also described his visit to Moscow on the eve of the war in Ukraine as “embarrassing”. However, he said the visit was scheduled months in advance.
Pakistan’s climate change minister, Senator Sherry Rehman, called Imran Khan’s U-turn “the mother of U-turns”. Imran Khan’s account of the US-backed plot behind his ousting has done serious diplomatic damage to the country and now by simply making a statement in an interview you cannot undo that damage,” he said. she declared.
She said: “Imran Khan could not be pardoned after recanting his account and he will be held accountable.”
The Minister said that based on this narrative, chaos and lies have spread across the country and a simple withdrawal is no longer enough.
“After calling Parliament, the Pakistani army and national institutions traitors, he cannot let himself be taken by simply saying that it is behind me and it is over,” Marriyum added. The PTI leader forced people in constitutional positions to violate the constitution for the sake of his concocted history, she noted.
Imran Khan, she said, had no choice but to drop his bogus rhetoric about conspiracy, imported government and regime change.
“Imran Khan has put the interests of Pakistan in grave danger for the lust for power,” she added.