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President Alvi to implement PM Shehbaz’s advice on army chief’s appointment

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  • President Arif Alvi speaks to his close aides.
  • He says do not have authority to stop process.
  • President says will follow through on advice.

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has said that he will follow through on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advice regarding the appointment of the next army chief, sources told Geo News Friday.

In a conversation with his aides about the appointment of the new chief of army staff (COAS), the president said that he could not create hurdles in the much-anticipated process.

“I do not have the legal authority to stop the prime minister’s advice; I have never interfered in the affairs of the state,” President Alvi — a leader of the PTI — stressed.

The statement comes after PTI Chairman Imran Khan — who has time and again called for the appointment of the army chief on “merit” — said that his party will be sitting back and watching, as the government decides to appoint the next army chief.

The incumbent army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is set to retire later this month and he has ruled out an extension in his tenure — and so has the military.

In response, PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the president would fulfil his constitutional duty when it comes to the crucial appointment.

“Let me make it clear, whatever the president decides, it will have Imran Khan’s complete support,” he added.

The consultation process

Before consulting the ruling partners, PM Shehbaz approached his brother, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif regarding the decision. In a meeting in London, both the leaders agreed to appoint the military’s senior-most officer as the next army chief.

As he touched down in Pakistan after his London visit last week, the prime minister fell sick, but he has started consultations with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders for the coveted slot.

The allied parties have fully mandated the premier for making the appointment as per set procedures and traditions, sources told Online news agency.

According to them, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman telephoned the prime minister to inquire about his health. During the telephone conversation, the two leaders exchanged views on the situation in the country and the appointment of the new army chief.

Sources said Fazl threw his weight behind PM Shehbaz, saying he should appoint the new army chief as per the set procedure.

They said a majority of the ruling coalition leaders termed the army chief’s appointment an administrative and discretionary power of the prime minister.

PPP and JUI-F leadership fully authorised PM Shehbaz Sharif to appoint the new army chief as per his wishes.

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Parliament’s joint session has been rescheduled for April 18.

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Following the general elections on February 8, the legislative year will begin on Thursday with President Asif Ali Zardari addressing the first session of both houses of parliament.

Articles 54 (1) and 56 (3) of the Constitution were invoked by President Zardari to call the meeting. According to Article 56(3), he will speak to the combined session, which starts at 4 p.m.

The combined session, which was originally set for April 16, has been moved to April 18. For this reason, the April 16 joint parliamentary session notification is revoked.

Note that both the upper and lower houses have had their members elected in accordance with the constitution, and that this will be the nation’s first joint session after the new legislative year has begun.

Former President Arif Alvi was still in office after the elections that took place on February 8, but he was unable to call a joint session because the Senate elections had not yet taken place.

The combined session was summoned by President Zardari a few weeks after he took the oath of office and after the Senate elections went well.

Some months after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition government had taken power in the center, Alvi had already called a joint session of parliament on October 6, 2022.

On the other hand, the session was called by the then-president to commemorate the start of the 2022 National Assembly’s final full year.

Amidst the nation’s increasing political instability, the former president emphasized the need for dialogue and urged to end polarization in his speech to the parliament, which was marred by an unexpected boycott by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F).

“Stubbornness doesn’t mean that a person is a Polarized person.”

In the end, the number of parliamentarians in attendance during the former president’s speech dropped down to 12 from the initial 15 people.

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In instances from May 9, the ATC prevented police from detaining Fawad Chaudhry.

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The ATC judge issued the directives after allowing Fawad Chaudhry temporary release until April 20 in four cases involving the violence on May 9.

Additionally, the police were instructed by the court to bring the case file against Chaudhry at the following hearing.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Fawad Chaudhry expressed his optimism for a bright future after spending four stints behind bars.

Among the numerous issues Chaudhry is dealing with are allegations of corruption.

The former PTI leader was released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on April 6.

On April 1, Fawad Chaudhry was granted bail by a division bench of the Islamabad High Court, which was composed of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri. The case included land in Jhelum and was brought before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Qasir Imam, Fawad’s attorney, had previously told the court that his client was accused of accepting a Rs. 5 million bribe from a civilian.

He added that he had never seen the complainant whose complaint led to the filing of a first information report (FIR) against his client. The accusation is that the complainant bribed Fawad and his client offered him a job.

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Pakistan

The SHC is contesting Aseefa Bhutto’s election to the Nawabshah NA seat.

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Mustafa Rind of the PTI asserted in a high court suit that his nomination papers were turned down following his kidnapping.

He begged that the announcement of Aseefa Bhutto’s uncontested election be deemed invalid, and he added that a by-election to fill the National Assembly’s open seats will take place on April 21.

On March 29, the Pakistani Election Commission announced that Aseefa Bhutto had emerged victorious as the MNA from NA-207, following the withdrawal of nomination papers from the remaining three candidates.

Shaheed Benazirabad (Nawabshah), which became vacant after her father Asif Ali Zardari was elected as Pakistan’s 14th President, was held by Aseefa Bhutto in the National Assembly.

In the initial round of nomination papers for the by-election, 11 candidates were confirmed by the Returning Officer. Only four nominees’ papers, including Aseefa Zardari, were accepted after careful examination, nevertheless.

In an effort to garner support for her brother Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Aseefa led a number of rallies during the PPP’s strong involvement in the election campaign leading up to the general elections on February 8. At a PPP gathering in Multan on November 30, 2020, she made her political debut.

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