Shehbaz Sharif will appoint Pakistan’s new army head, visit China in Nov: Defence Min Asif

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will appoint a new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in November and will also visit China, according to Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif. But General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who is now in charge of Pakistan’s army, will step down in November when his three-year extension expires. Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit China in the first week of November at the request of China’s President Xi Jinping, Khawaja Asif said.

The comments were made by the defense minister at a press conference where, according to Daily Pakistan, he also criticized Imran Khan, the nation’s former prime minister, for trying to stir up controversy over the army chief’s appointment and for serving Pakistan’s interests solely for political reasons damage .

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Pakistan’s Minister Khawaja Asif told the media that Jinping extended the invitation during the meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of the SCO summit. The defense minister even added that Sharif had also been invited to visit Moscow by Russian President Vladimir Putin and that this trip would also take place. According to Khawaja Asif, quoted by Daily Pakistan and official TV, Russia has shown a desire to ship wheat and gas to Pakistan.

Imran Khan on the ‘drama’ surrounding the election of the next army chief

Apart from that, former Pakistani Prime Minister and head of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Khan, said in August that the replacement of General Qamar Javed Bajwa should be chosen on the basis of merit, handing the blame of the nation to the current state the “drama” surrounding the election of the next army chief.

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61-year-old General Bajwa, the current army chief of staff, was appointed in 2016 and will step down in the last week of November. The army chief’s term is set to last three years, but after “political drama” in 2019, Bajwa was awarded an additional three-year term, PTI reported. He was granted an extension in August by then-Prime Minister Khan, but the Supreme Court later moved for legislation to reappoint agency heads.

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In January 2020, the Pakistani Parliament agreed, giving the Prime Minister the power to extend the terms of service of the chiefs. However, the age at which a service leader must retire was set by law at 64 years.

According to the PTI report, Bajwa was thus qualified for re-election. This formality raised the possibility that the incumbent would be interested in or seek another extension.

A senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) official, who serves in the federal cabinet, made the suggestion that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would talk about appointing the next army chief by the end of August, and perhaps make a decision by mid-September.

(Image: Main Shehbaz Sharif_Facebook/ AP)

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