Zardari thinks about another surprise to Imran Khan

PPP co-Chairman doesn’t rule out COAS Bajwa’s extension

ISLAMABAD   –   Chief architect of the incumbent coalition government, Asif Ali Zardari, is thinking about giving another surprise to rival Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan before going into the general elections, sources said yesterday.

Zardari, a former President and co-Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, is not ruling out another extension to Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, although the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced the top General wanted to retire in November.

“There can be a huge surprise if General Bajwa agrees to stay on. Zardari is thinking on these lines but there is no contact with the COAS yet on this issue.  This (extension) cannot be ruled out. The government has this right (to extend the tenure),” a close aide of Zardari told The Nation, citing the previous shocker where Imran Khan was ousted as the Prime Minister in April.

Another aide of the PPP co-Chairman said the coalition government will take a decision after consensus and take the COAS into confidence before any announcement.

“The coalition government respects the COAS and his role as the army chief. Extension is an option open to the government,” he added.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has recently said he had always enjoyed good relations with every army chief of the country.

In response to a question about the appointment of the next army chief when the term of the incumbent expires in November, or giving an extension to the current chief General Bajwa, Sharif had said: “It is a premature question” and will be considered when the time comes in the national interest.

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