ISLAMABAD: PML-N and PPP senators on Sunday criticised President Arif Alvi for his remarks about army chief’s appointment, with the former blaming him for toeing his party chairman’s line and the latter accusing him of assuming an unconstitutional role of a ‘broker’.

PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui said: “President Alvi’s suggestion to conditionalise appointment of the army chief with consensus among all political parties was absurd. Instead of toeing Imran Khan’s line, the president should uphold the constitution as it is he who has taken oath to protect and implement it.”

He made it clear that the executive has the authority to appoint the army chief in all democratic countries.

“Neither any controversy arose in the past, nor any opposition demanded its inclusion in the consultation process for the purpose.”

PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said the president should stop trying to create ‘political space’ for himself as this was in violation of the Constitution of 1973. “He is not an honest broker, therefore, not acceptable to the political stakeholders for a political dialogue. He (president) cannot be part of an institutional dialogue because of mala fide references sent by him against judges of the superior judiciary,” the ex-chairman of senate added.

Under the constitutional framework, according to him, the president has no such role nor will the parliament allow him to toy with the Constitution.

Mr Rabbani said the Pakistan Democratic Movement should have impeached the president, if the alliance had the required numbers in parliament, for circumventing parliament, sending references with ‘mala fide intent’ against judges of the superior judiciary, making illegal appointments in autonomous and semiautonomous bodies on the advice of then prime minister that had to be struck down by courts, failing to perform his constitutional obligation, under a ‘false’ pretext, to administer oath of the office to the new prime minister, and dissolving the National Assembly while acting on the advice of a prime minister facing a vote of no confidence.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2022

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