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President Arif Alvi sees no harm in appointing next army chief ahead of time

ISLAMABAD: President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday said that in his opinion there was “no harm” in appointing the next army chief before the expiry of the incumbent’s term.

President Alvi was asked during an interaction with journalists in Islamabad about his thoughts on the possibility of the appointment being made ahead of time, to which he indicated he would not object to any such moves.

“In my opinion, there is no harm in making the army chief’s appointment ahead of time,” he said.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, who was given an extension by the previous PTI government in 2019, will leave his position on November 29 when his second three-year tenure comes to an end.

The next army chief’s appointment is at times mentioned as one of the subplots in the ongoing political crisis engulfing the country.

On a question about whether the army could play a role amid the current political quagmire in the country, he said: “There is no constitutional role for the army in the country [for resolving political crises].”

Further questioned about the political situation in the country, he said he did not have the authority to tell anyone to engage or hold a dialogue. However, he did say that “the President House is ready to play its role [for reconciliation] if all parties agree.”

Alvi said the presidential system was not the solution to the country’s woes as he put his faith in the existing parliamentary system.

The president denied violating the Constitution or betraying the country, but acknowledged that the proceedings under Article 6 of the Constitution should definitely be initiated against traitors.

Referring to the cable-gate crisis, Alvi said he believed that a “clear mandate” for governance was very important and the results of any investigation on the diplomatic cable should be brought before the public.

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