Imran Khan interviewed
7 probables for AJK PM
before appointing Qayyum


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan believes in interviewing probables before appointing and taking final decision about them.

According to informed sources, in July this year, PM Khan interviewed candidates for the slot of Azad Jammu and Kashmir prime minister in which they were asked about their future strategy and views on environment, tourism and national and international issues.

At that time the information minister had confirmed: “The prime minister is taking lengthy interviews of the candidates in which he is asking questions about environment, tourism, economy, border issues and their future plans.”

More than seven probables gave interview for the slot of PM AKJ. However, a federal minister who did not want to be named had told Dawn after the interview that the prime minister was not satisfied with the capability of candidates he judged in the interviews. He quoted the prime minister as saying: “The country lacks people having leadership skills.”

AJK PM Abdul Qayyum Niazi

The prime minister also disclosed in a meeting that during interviews of PM AJK office candidates, he was approached by different people for “support and favour” for particular candidates, but he (PM) told the aspirants that he would take his own decision without budging to any pressure.

According to a Dawn report, a question arises here that if the prime minister will appoint new DG ISI on the basis of interviews then will he not consider the proposal of the military leadership for the slot and the decision of the COAS. According to military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations the army chief has recently reshuffled the top military hierarchy, transferring ISI DG Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to the post of corps commander Peshawar while appointing Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Nadeen Ahmed Anjum as new DG of the ISI. However, an impasse developed on the issue between civil and military leadership as the prime minister was reportedly reluctant to appoint new DG ISI “against the law and constitutional norms”.

According to experts in defence matters, the procedure for appointment of ISI director general is neither mentioned in the Constitution nor the Army Act, and all previous appointments were made as per traditions under which army chief proposes three names to prime minister who then makes the final decision.

It was observed that participants of the PTI parliamentary committee meeting seemed to be nervous and worried when they were entering the committee room-2 of Parliament House to attend the meeting, but they were looking satisfied and relieved when they were leaving the hall.

AJK Prime Minister Abdul Qayyum Niazi with Prime Minister Imran Khan

“The PM told the meeting that civil and military leadership are on the same page and enjoy best ever fraternal relations and that the issue of appointment of ISI DG will be resolved soon amicably,” Fawad Chaudhry said.

According to a source, the PM assured party leaders that the government would complete its five-year term and enjoyed good relations with the military leadership.

When contacted, Mr Chaudhry said: “The notification of new DG ISI will be issued by the prime minister in two to three days.”

He said the prime minister had received a summary which carried names of three nominees for the office of ISI DG, including the one proposed by Gen Bajwa.

On the other hand, the prime minister in the federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday had reportedly said that he wanted incumbent ISI DG Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed to stay for some more time due to critical situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Ruling out any differences between the civil and military leadership, the information minister said “both are on the same page”.

He said the process of appointment of ISI DG had started and would be completed soon, adding that: “Things are normal but some people are distorting things to get cheap publicity. We respect the institutions, there are no differences between the army and the government, they are all on the same page.”

The information minister said the PTI parliamentary party also discussed the political situation in the country, the situation in Afghanistan and inflation.

“The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan would not leave Afghanistan alone and humanitarian aid to Afghans will continue,” he added.

He quoted the prime minister as saying: “If the world isolates Afghanistan, then terrorist groups will flourish which will harm not only the Afghans, but also Pakistan and the rest of the world.”

Prominent among those who attended the meeting were: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Fawad Chaudhry, Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Special Assistant to the PM on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill and Senator Faisal Javed.

After the meeting, Mr Qureshi told media that the meeting focused on Afghanistan situation, Kashmir and inflation.

Asked what the prime minister decided about the appointment of ISI DG, he replied sarcastically: “Some wishes will not be fulfilled. The wishes of opposition will remain unfulfilled.”

Dr Shahzad Waseem told reporters that the government would soon make some important legislation and the prime minister asked party legislators to get complete information about the coming legislation so that they could defend the government on them in the media and public.

Sheikh Rashid said the prime minister gave a briefing on the situation in Afghanistan while the Rehmatullil Aalimeen Authority was also discussed.

Talking about ISI DG’s appointment, he said that all things were “settled” and that the government’s relations with the army were “excellent”. He, however, declined to comment on who the premier would appoint and said that “there was no talk of interviews”.