'Untimely to discuss army chief's appointment,' says FM Qureshi in interview

Published August 2, 2019
General Qamar Javed Bajwa. —AFP/File
General Qamar Javed Bajwa. —AFP/File

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that it was too early to discuss the appointment of the next Army chief, despite the fact that General Qamar Javed Bajwa's term length expires in November this year.

His remarks came during an interview on Hum News with talk show host Nadeem Malik.

Responding to whether the government plans on making a new appointment or will opt to grant the incumbent Army chief an extension, Qureshi said that it would be an untimely thing to discuss at this point in time.

The foreign minister said that November was still far off, before remarking: "I believe this is the prime minister's prerogative. And when he deems it suitable, he will make an appropriate decision."

Commenting on the relations between the government and the Army, he said, "We have arrived at the conclusion that the challenges Pakistan faces today have to be addressed with all stakeholders on the same page.

"Whether the challenge is of an economic nature, or if it pertains to foreign affairs, or if it is about Pakistan's internal security, whether it is that of institutional reforms, of governance, or terrorism, unless and until we are all on the same page, we will be unable to move forward," he said.

"I feel that right now, this government's relationship with the various institutions are of trust, mutual consultation, and are excellent.

"And Pakistan's interest is being prioritised, not the self and not any party."

The host shared that he had observed, in his own interactions with both parties, that the prime minister speaks very highly of the army chief and likewise so does Gen Bajwa of the prime minister, referring to him as "very committed", "very hardworking", and "very sincere".

Commenting on whether the relationship between the two is "warm" and "cordial", the foreign minister said that there is a trust and confidence seen in their interactions on every issue they discuss.

Citing the example of the recent visit to Washington which both had undertaken, he said that a pre-visit consultation session was held among all the stakeholders to ascertain what the trip's objectives should be, what the US must be expecting from our side, what our own expectations are, and whether we are all on the same page.

"During the visit, we were all seen to project a united front which benefitted Pakistan. Their trust in Pakistan was significantly restored. The same people who used to say that there is a state-military disconnect were no longer in a position to say so," said the foreign minister.

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