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Govt will complete its term, Rashid tells opposition

• Says opposition has no vision to understand the regional situation
• Senior PTI leader asks what is against the law that the PM is doing on ISI chief issue

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has asserted that Prime Minister Imran Khan will not only complete his five-year term in office but also form the next government and criticised the opposition for discussing the military in public.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, the interior minister assailed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz for what he said ‘bashing’ the armed forces in the public meeting of the opposition alliance at Faisalabad.

The minister had made it clear some two days ago that the issue of the appointment of new Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence would be resolved by next Friday as both civil and military leadership had reached consensus on the issue, terming the appointment a ‘routine matter’.

According to military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief earlier this month reshuffled the top military hierarchy, transferring ISI DG Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to the position of Peshawar corps commander while appointing Karachi corps commander Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as new ISI director general.

However, a standoff developed on the issue between civil and military leadership as the prime minister was reportedly reluctant to appoint new intelligence chief “against the law and constitutional norms”.

A week has passed since Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa reportedly met to discuss the issue of ISI chief’s appointment after which the government came up with the announcement that the issue had been settled. However, the PM Office did not issue any notification so far been regarding the key appointment. According to the military authorities, the COAS had decided to make Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as new ISI DG but the PM wanted to take his own decision.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief whip in the National Assembly Amir Dogar had told the media last Tuesday that PM Khan wanted Lt Gen Hameed to stay in his office for some more time due to critical situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.

While responding to a question about any specific law about appointment of ISI chief, a senior PTI leader who did not want to be named said: “I am no expert of law and Constitution but I think question should be what is against the law and Constitution which the PM is doing while appointing DG ISI.”

He said the approval of the country’s chief executive was important for appointment of top government positions. “And this is the law,” he added.

“The UK has no written Constitution, does that mean appointments made by PM should be considered tradition,” he explained, adding that every notification signed by the PM was a law unless declared illegal by the Supreme Court.

Asked why the appointment was being delayed if the PM was authorised to do so, the PTI leader said: “How do we call this a delay? Is there a deadline or timeline passed?”

In his press talk on Sunday after meeting the daughter of nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan who passed away last week, the interior minister said: “The opposition has been saying since December last year that the PTI is going to lose power, but it should clear any misunderstanding about the government. Prime Minister Imran Khan is so lucky to have got such incompetent and ineffective opposition.”

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is going nowhere, he will complete his term and will form his government for the next tenure,” he added.

About the issue of inflation, he linked it with changing world economic situation, arguing that no one in the government would want inflation in the country. He said the government was taking ‘sincere steps’ to control inflation.

The minister asked the PML-N leadership to stop “defaming respectable institutions in public or using inappropriate language”. He said the present opposition had no vision to understand the prevailing regional situation as they had selected wrong time for holding rallies and protest.

“If Nawaz Sharif is serious in returning Pakistan, the Ministry of Interior will facilitate his travel. He can return even within 24 hours,” he said, adding that the PML-N was fooling people that he had the desire to return from London.

He said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been given the task to prevent hoarding of dollars in the country and that 34 persons had been arrested besides ordering audit of five major companies in this regard.

About development projects in Rawalpindi, the minister said he had fulfilled all promises made with the people such as establishment of 60 educational institutions, three varsities and the Lai nullah projects.

Regarding the nuclear scientist, Mr Rashid said: “Dr Khan was our national hero and on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he was given a state funeral. The government will also construct a mausoleum of the nuclear scientist at H-8 graveyard.”

Earlier, the minister visited the residence of late Dr Khan and expressed sympathies with his family.

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