Yousuf Raza Gilani, Fazl back constitutional powers of PM to appoint COAS

Published October 4, 2022
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Mau­lana Fazlur Rehman (L) and PPP Vice Chairman Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) speak to the media in Multan on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Mau­lana Fazlur Rehman (L) and PPP Vice Chairman Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) speak to the media in Multan on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

• JUI-F chief says Imran is ‘irrelevant’ in politics
• Claims changes to trans rights law meant to remove ‘loopholes’

LAHORE: Chief of the multi-party Pakis­tan Demo­cratic Movement (PDM) and his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Mau­lana Fazlur Rehman, said the Constitution would decide whether an extension could be given to the army chief’s service.

The Maulana said this while addressing a joint press conference with PPP Vice Chairman Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani at the latter’s residence in Multan on Monday. Federal minister and Fazl’s son, Maulana Asadur Rehman, PML-N Multan President Bilal Butt and PPP south Punjab Senior Vice President Khawaja Rizwan Alam were also present on the occasion.

The JUI-F chief said the important thing was what the Constitution said about the appointment of an army chief and the person who had the constitutional auth­ority to give an extension would decide whether to do so or not. The government would follow the Constitu­tion that had vested the authority in the prime minister to decide about an extension or make fresh appointment of an army chief.

His remarks came following former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion a few weeks ago to defer the appointment of the next army chief — due in November after the retirement of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa — until the next general elections.

The Maulana said Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Cha­irman Imran Khan sho­uld not be taken seriously as he was not relevant anymore. “We are making an issue out of nothing, as the PTI is not worth consulting.”

He further said the ruling coalition was able to get rid of Mr Khan after a long struggle and the nation was reeling from the aftershocks of his removal. “People should join hands and help the government in holding this fascist (Imran Khan) accountable. He should not be given much importance,” said the PDM chief.

Read: Who will be the next army chief?

He further said if Khan wanted to hold a sit-in then Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was ready to handle it. “These PTI workers and leaders cannot face any hardships,” he commented.

Opposition leader in the Senate Mr Gilani said Mau­lana Fazl had announced his support for Ali Musa Gilani in the NA-157 Multan by-election later this month. He claimed the PTI, which had been proved to be an “imported party” in the prohibited funding case, was levelling allegations of an “imported government” on the incumbent rulers. “People accusing others of corruption should look into their own affairs,” he added.

Mr Gilani said during his tenure as the prime minister, only he and former president Asif Ali Zardari knew about the extension granted to the then army chief Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani, as opposed to how this important appointment was being discussed publicly now.

He questioned on what grounds Mr Khan was trying to dictate the government over the army chief’s appointment, calling it a futile exercise. “Imran Khan should not have discussed the extension of the army chief’s service in public gatherings. Our opponents have complicated the entire issue,” he added.

The PPP leader stressed it was the complete authority of a prime minister to appoint the army chief.

Regarding the tough conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund to secure a loan, he said the ruling coalition parties took measures to save the country from default. “The masses would have suffered if we had violated the agreement that the previous government signed with the Fund,” he said, adding the government had decreased the prices of petroleum products and the masses would soon get relief in the electricity tariff.

The JUI-F chief also talked about the transgender rights law, saying there was a loophole in it regarding which they had proposed an amendment to the legislation. He claimed social media was being used for false reporting against their lawyer and parliament could fix the transgender bill if there was any ambiguity in it.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2022

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