President Arif Alvi Thursday left Lahore's Zaman Park after holding talks with PTI Chairman Imran Khan over the crucial appointments of the military brass, with PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry saying the President House will issue a statement at 7pm.
"Meeting between Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi lasted 45 minutes. President Alvi has left for Islamabad," said Chaudhry outside the PTI chairperson's residence. He added that the president and Imran Khan discussed the constitutional, political and legal issues regarding the army chief's appointment.
"The President House will issue a handout in this regard between 6:30 and 7pm," said Fawad. He added that the handout will also share details of President Alvi's meeting with Imran Khan.
The president, who has received the summary for the appointments, has not yet signed it. It was reported that the president will take a decision after talks with the PTI chief.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier today sent a summary to the president for appointing Lieutenant General Asim Munir as the next army chief and Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
Lt Gen Munir will replace incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who will retire on November 29, while Lt Gen Mirza is set to take charge from General Nadeem Raza.
Earlier, the PTI leadership — under the chairmanship of Khan — held a meeting to discuss the important appointments, sources said.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry, and PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar were also part of the meeting.
Asif wants Alvi to avoid political conflicts
Following the announcement of the nominations, Defence Minister expected political maturity from the PTI leadership over the crucial military appointments.
In a tweet, Asif said, “The advice has gone to President Alvi. Now it’s Imran Khan's test whether he wants to strengthen the institution of the country's defence or make it controversial."
Asif's statement came after the PTI chief clearly stated that he would be consulted once the summary was received and that he would "play within the law".
However, President Alvi, an important member of PTI, had assured according to sources, that he would not create hurdles in the appointment of the new top military officials.
“This is also a test for President Alvi if he will follow political advice or constitutional and legal advice. As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, it is his duty to protect the country from political conflicts," Asif added in his tweet.
During a media talk in Islamabad following the federal cabinet meeting later, the defence minister said that all the matters had been settled in line with the Constitution.
The minister added that it was expected that President Alvi would approve the premier's advice.
Asif also told the media that a detailed press release regarding the development would be issued soon.