Defence Minister reiterates that a new army chief will be appointed by the PM in November.
Keeping in mind the damage to Pakistan’s breadbasket following catastrophic floods, Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered wheat in addition to gas supplies.
Further, Asif stated that the Russian president had also invited the prime minister to visit and that the visit would take place. There is a possibility of receiving gas from them. According to Russia, there are gas pipelines in Central Asian countries and the pipelines could be extended to Pakistan via Afghanistan. “These discussions have taken place.”
Moreover, the defense minister said that Russia has appreciated Pakistan’s position on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Furthermore, he stated that Shehbaz Sharif will travel to China on the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping during the first week of November for his maiden visit.
On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, President Xi invited the defense minister.
It was an extremely successful meeting for the prime minister and the Chinese president, according to Asif. According to him, President Xi stated that they committed him to advance the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and referred to Pakistan as an “all-weather strategic ally”.
Finally, Asif stated that all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have expressed their desire to support Pakistan as it suffers from devastating floods.
Shehbaz to appoint new COAS in November
In accordance with the Constitution, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will appoint the country’s new army chief in November. According to Asif, the prime minister will fulfill his constitutional duty to appoint the army chief in November, despite whatever Imran Khan may say.
In addition to asserting that Nawaz Sharif did not discuss the appointment of the army chief, he pointed out that Nawaz Sharif had fulfilled this constitutional obligation four times as well.
In addition, Imran Khan, the former premier, and leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has been criticized for trying to make the army chief’s appointment a “controversial” issue. Further, he said that Imran is “saying things that shouldn’t be said”.
According to Asif, the PTI chief’s attempts to regain power are harming the country and its interests, as he has also accused him of preventing Pakistan from receiving aid for flood victims.
Moreover, he said that Imran is jeopardizing Pakistan’s economic security with his constant attacks on its national security. “Imran Khan repeatedly attacked national and economic security of Pakistan,” according to Khan.
It comes at a time when efforts are being made to reestablish the troubled US-Pakistan relationship.
Recently, a senior adviser to the US secretary of state visited Islamabad, while US President Joe Biden Administration approved a $450 million sale of F-16 equipment as a sign that Washington wishes to maintain a cooperative relationship with Pakistan.
Shehbaz’s meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday and Friday are significant and demonstrate Pakistan’s attempts to maintain a delicate balance in its relations with large powers.
According to the transcript released by Putin’s office after his meeting with Shehbaz, Russian officials are eager to improve relations with Pakistan. Furthermore, President Xi described Shehbaz as being a person of pragmatism and efficiency during his first meeting with the Pakistani prime minister.
Moreover, Shehbaz praised the president of Russia, describing him as a “man of words” and a “superpower”. Accordingly, the Russian president began his conversation with Shehbaz by recalling his time as prime minister when he worked with his elder brother, Nawaz Sharif.
In the opinion of some observers, Shehbaz’s flurry of meetings with the presidents of both Russia and China indicates that Pakistan’s policy of diversifying its foreign policy options remains unchanged.