COAS appointment should not be topic of public debate: Khawaja Asif

Islamabad (HRNW) Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Wednesday said that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) appointment should not be a topic of public debate.

While speaking to the media following the confab with PM Shehbaz along with other federal ministers, the defence minister said the legal process is underway for the next COAS, and it will take one or two days.

Asif added that he has no idea whether the new army chief’s appointment will be done on a seniority basis or merit, however, the name will be finalized by tomorrow.

“The coalition parties and federal ministers will be taken into confidence on the appointment but regardless of politics, decisions should be made in the national interest,” he added.

During the media talk, a journalist asked whether the army chief’s appointment be done under Article 243 to which the minister replied, “I don’t know about so many articles, you must have read [them], so you know better. Be it the president or prime minister, decisions should be taken as per the constitution and in the national interest.”

Commenting on rumors that Lt Gen Asim Munir will be the next COAS, he stated the appointment of the new chief should not be a part of public debate.

According to sources, the list sent by the military to the defence ministry contains names of the six senior-most generals of Pakistan Army.

Apart from picking the name of the next army chief, the prime minister will pick the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The names include (in no particular order of ranking)

Lt Gen Asim Munir (Quartermaster General at GHQ in Rawalpindi)

Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza (Commander Rawalpindi Corps)

Lt General Azhar Abbas (Chief of General Staff)

Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood (President of the National Defence University)

Lt Gen Faiz Hameed (Commander, Bahawalpur Corps)

Lt Gen Muhammad Amir (Corps Commander Gujranwala)