Fallout of rift between institutions can be immense but leadership on same page, insists Fawad

Published October 14, 2021
Information Minister speaks during the DawnNews show 'Live with Adil Shahzeb' on Wednesday.
Information Minister speaks during the DawnNews show 'Live with Adil Shahzeb' on Wednesday.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary on Wednesday acknowledged that the fallout of a rift among institutions can be "immense", but insisted that the current civil-military leadership "remain on the same page" and are cognizant of the fact that their "unity and stability" is in the country's best interest.

Chaudhry's comments were in the context of the ongoing impasse between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on the issue of appointment of new Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General.

Speaking in the DawnNews show 'Live with Adil Shahzeb' on Wednesday, he said: "If there is a rift in the ties, the damage will be immense so there is no doubt that all institutions need to be united and stable. It is in the interest of the country as well."

He said the institutions, too, were aware of what the situation warrants, as he hoped that "no such problem" (confrontation) would arise.

When asked if the political climate in Pakistan could impact the Afghan situation or expose it to further international pressure, the minister ruled out such a possibility, insisting that Pakistan's leadership had successfully tackled the crisis.

"It would have affected the situation, had the relations among the institutions were not cordial or there were different policies like in the past, but it's not the case," he added.

When asked if important postings identified by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in its recent press release would also be reviewed during the new appointment "process" for DG's ISI appointment, the minister refused to say much, only responding: "You will come to know once the decision is announced."

The appointment of DG ISI is a prerogative of the prime minister. The spymaster’s choice is, however, made by the prime minister in consultation with the army chief.

Chaudhry reiterated his remarks made in a tweet on Wednesday, saying that the process for the appointment of the DG ISI had begun and the matter was now heading towards its conclusion.

"I can't give a time frame for it (announcement) but it should conclude at the earliest," he said. "However, the process will be completed within its stipulated time and it won't take longer than that."

In her reaction to the deadlock between civil-military leadership on Wednesday, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz had alleged the prime minister took decisions under the influence of “spirits” adding that “he does so for making top appointments and not for giving relief to the public at large”.

She had also termed the premier’s alleged resentment towards the appointment of the DG ISI by the army chief as uncalled for, saying only a “lawfully elected prime minister” could make top appointments of national security organisations.

Chaudhry, in the interview, deemed Maryam's criticism as "non-serious", accusing the PML-N leader of trying to garner "media attention" with such remarks.

'PM is incompetent'

Meanwhile, former president Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said that the PPP's stance since the first day of the PTI government's tenure had been that "he (Prime Minister Imran Khan) is incompetent."

He was responding to a question outside the accountability court in Islamabad today about the prime minister's handling of the appointment of the new DG ISI.

"When he (PM Imran) gave extension previously [to Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa], he asked for five drafts ... it is the same issue now. Basically, he is incompetent," the PPP leader said.

When asked whether the premier would be able to handle the situation, Zardari quipped, "He is managing [even] his own politicians with great difficulty."

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