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‘Not such a bad idea’ to appoint next army chief beforehand: President Arif Alvi

Alvi says dialogue is possible only when all stakeholders agree.
President Arif Alvi on Tuesday said that it is not a bad idea to appoint the next chief of army staff before the time fixed for appointment — November.
The statement came during an interaction with journalists in response to a question. The president was asked what he thinks of the suggestion that the new army chief be appointed in advance due to the ongoing political crisis in the country.
“It’s not such a bad idea,” he said in response.
President Alvi said that it is suggested he “play his part” after meeting the army, naval or air chiefs, which he “cannot do”.
He said that a dialogue is possible only when all the stakeholders agree. “The President House can play its role only in this case.”
“The neutrals need to remain neutral always,” the president said.
Elaborating further, he said that as the president of Pakistan, he does not have the constitutional authority to ask parties to have a dialogue.
“The elephant in the room has not appeared now, it has been there for 50 years,” he said, adding that the matter is a ground reality and that it can be solved through dialogue.
He said that he has received 74 summaries since the coalition government has come into office and he signed and forwarded 69 of them on the day of receiving them.
“I held back the summaries regarding NAB amendment Ordinance, electronic voting machines and the Punjab governor but I didn’t have any pressure to do so,” he said.
When asked, President Alvi said that he didn’t have any talk with PTI chairman Imran Khan on the matter of EVMs and NAB amendment ordinance and the last time they spoke was when there was an issue regarding the Punjab governor.
Moving on to the current situation in the top courts, Alvi said that he regrets that such an atmosphere has been created.
“I had appreciated the houbara bustard ruling by Justice Qazi Faez Isa,” he said, adding: “I don’t want to create controversy again and again.”
“I forwarded the reference pertaining to Justice Isa that was sent to me,” the president.
He said that a person should change their views if the time and circumstances change.
President Alvi said that a parliamentary system is better and he does not support the president’s authority to dissolve assemblies under Article 2B of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The president said that Article 6 should be applied to who ever commits treason.
“If anyone believes that I have violated the Constitution then they may try me under Article 6 but neither have I violated the Constitution nor suspended it,” the president said.
“I personally think that a clear mandate is extremely important no matter what the time is,” President Alvi said.
Responding to a question about the foreign “threat” letter, Alvi said that the matter should be made public if it has been investigated.
The president said that the United States does not want to end relations with Pakistan. He appreciated Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s efforts to strengthen Pak-US ties.
Responding to another question, President Alvi said that the perception that relations between him and the prime minister are not good is wrong.