Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has denied the media reports claiming that the Prime Minister Office received a summary from the Ministry of Defence for the appointment to the army’s top slots.
In a tweet from her official handle on Tuesday, the minister said the statement attributed to Defence Minister Khawaja Asif is not correct.
While advising against speculating on the matter, Marriyum said official announcement will be made after receiving summary.
وزیر دفاع خواجہ آصف سے منسوب بیان درست نہیں
آرمی چیف کی تعیناتی سے متعلق سمری تاحال وزیراعظم ہاؤس میں موصول نہیں ہوئی، قیاس آرائیاں نہ کی جائیں
سمری موصول ہونے پر اطلاع دے دی جائے گی
— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) November 22, 2022
Earlier, local TV channels quoting sources reported that PM Office received a summary from the Ministry of Defence for the appointment to the army’s top slots —chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the army chief.
The summary sent by General Headquarters (GHQ), the report claimed, contained the names of six senior most generals.
As per the seniority list, Lt General Asim Munir, Lt General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt General Azhar Abbas, Lt General Numan Mahmud and Lt General Faiz Hameed are in contention for the job of chairman joint chiefs of staff committee and the army chief.
A day earlier, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the process to appoint the new army chief had kicked off as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif formally wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defence seeking a summary for the potential candidates.
Speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, the defence minister hinted at the formal announcement of the key appointment within the next three days.
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“The process will complete in two to three days. The excitement will end, after which we will deal with Imran Khan,” the defence minister said.
Separately, in a television interview, Asif said the prime minister had written a letter to the defence ministry to send the summary and dossiers of eligible lieutenant generals for the posts of chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the army chief.
He said the announcement of the new army chief would be made by November 26, the same day when PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan is scheduled to stage a protest in Rawalpindi as part of his campaign to seek early elections.
Asif said the defence ministry had confirmed receiving the letter from the premier while the GHQ had also been kept in the loop.
There were reports earlier that the summary was already received by the Prime Minister’s Office containing names of five eligible candidates. The government, however, denied such a development.
Later the defence minister blamed the media for airing stories on the appointment of new army chief without verifying from the relevant authorities.
He said unnecessary hype and hysteria was being created over the process.
On Sunday, a senior government official had dismissed speculations that there had been any civil-military deadlock over the key appointment.
"You will see the clear picture will emerge by Monday evening regarding the process of appointment," the high-ranking official told The Express Tribune while requesting anonymity.
The new army chief will take charge on November 29 as the incumbent General Qamar Javed Bajwa would doff his uniform the same day after completing six years in office while the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff committee will relinquish his duties on November 27.