Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif claims Imran Khan contacted him for the new army chief selection

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Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday claimed that his predecessor Imran Khan contacted him a month ago and offered him the name of three candidates who could be nominated for the post of army chief.

As per local media reports, Sharif made the revelation while holding a meeting with social media influencers in the eastern city of Lahore. 

“I only offered to hold talks on the charter of democracy and the charter of economy,” said Sharif. 

“I sent a message [to Imran Khan] that the appointment of army chief is the constitutional right of the prime minister and he would do it on his own,” he added.

The statement by Sharif, if true, could cause harm to Khan, who has started a march from Lahore to the capital city of Islamabad to protest against the ruling administration and call for fresh elections.

The former PM has been iterating for the past few months that the Sharif government is stalling elections to bring an army chief of choice. 

Read more: Pakistan PM to appoint next Army chief in November, says Defence Minister Asif

As reported by WION, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa is in the last essay of his stint as the army leader. He is expected to retire late next month after a six-year tenure and Sharif is yet to name his successor. 

The appointment of the Army chief in Pakistan is a big deal as the Army rules the coup-prone country from behind the curtains.

While a democratic regime sits in Islamabad at all times, it is the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi where the big decisions are taken and instructed to the executive. 

Most governments in Pakistan tend to have an Army chief that dictates the actions. The selection of the COAS thus assumes paramount importance. 

Read more: Pakistan army chief hints at peace with India without mentioning Kashmir

(With inputs from agencies)

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