Authority to appoint DG ISI lies with the prime minister: Information Minister

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa have “ideal” civil-military relations and they both never take any steps that could “disrespect” each other, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday.

Addressing a post-cabinet meeting press conference, the minister said the authority to appoint the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) director general “lies with the prime minister”, and that the set procedure would be followed for the purpose.

“The legal procedure will be followed in the appointment of the new DG ISI, for which both [Gen Bajwa and Prime Minister Imran] are in agreement,” he said.

Chaudhry said Prime Minister Imran and the army chief had a “long sitting” last night to discuss the matter and the premier had subsequently taken the cabinet into confidence over the issue.

“Gen Bajwa and the prime minister have close and cordial relations. And it is also important from a historical perspective that there are ideal relations between Pakistan’s civilian and military leaderships,” he added.

Referring to rumours about the matter, Chaudhrys said: “I see on social media, there are many who have wishes; I want to tell them that the Prime Minister’s Office will never undermine the respect of the Pakistan Army and army chief. And the COAS and the army will never take any step that will undermine the respect of Pakistan’s prime minister or civil setup.”

He stressed that both the premier and the military leadership were in close coordination, and the DG ISI would be appointed after fulfilling all the legal requirements. “Both (PM Imran and Gen Bajwa) are in agreement over this and the prime minister has the authority over it,” he said.

Chaudhry also appreciated the media for not “sensationalising” the matter of the DG ISI’s appointment.

The federal cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, discussed the country’s overall political and economic situation.

In recent days, the federal capital has been gripped with feverish speculation about a delay in the issuing of notification for the appointment of incoming ISI Director General Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad Anjum by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The government had so far maintained silence on the issue.

On Monday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, when asked at a media interaction about the issue, had uncharacteristically refused to give a clear answer and said that Information Minister Chaudhry was authorised to speak on “civil-military” issues.

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