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coronavirus
Coronavirus
VERY HIGH
Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
29,162
2524hr
Pakistan Cases
1,393,887
7,53924hr
Sindh
533,496
Punjab
469,540
Balochistan
34,131
Islamabad
122,098
KPK
187,983

EDITORIAL: In a wide-ranging interview with a private TV channel Prime Minister Imran Khan fielded predictable and not so-predictable questions with usual aplomb. Dwelling on rumours of a deal between the PML-N and establishment amid a deep political polarisation that could lead to the ouster of his government, he seemed confident that his government would complete its mandated five-year term as it continued to enjoy the support of its allies. More assurance comes from other sources.

One of the two major parties, the PPP, has made clear its intention not to resign from Parliament, hence shutting out the danger of his government’s collapse. And despite some pundits’ claims to the contrary, the much clichéd one-page seems to be intact. There is no apparent reason to doubt the PM’s assertion that he has “exemplary relations” with the military leadership.

However, when asked a rather superfluous question if Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is to get yet another extension in service, the PM pointed out that “the current year has just started and November [when the term of the incumbent is to expire] is far away. Why then there is worry about extension in tenure of the Army chief?” Why indeed? Besides, the issue is not so simple. It may be recalled that on the previous occasion the Supreme Court had rejected the government’s bid to grant extension to the top commander, ordering it as well as the Army to produce legal provisions as well as reasoning behind the move. Hence a fresh legislation was enacted, in line with the court order, to give the incumbent extra three years on the job. Even so, the Prime Minister had to give a good reason for it.

He had cited a worsening national security situation. Although the new law set a higher retirement age for the three service chiefs, allowing the Prime Minister to extend their terms, and it is for him to determine if the reason then mentioned for the purpose is still valid or not. Besides, a well-established tradition in all functioning democracies even in times of active hostilities is to rely on institutional memory. It is for the Prime Minister, nonetheless, to use his discretionary power under the law to do whatever he deems appropriate.

Talking about other issues, Imran Khan conceded that his biggest failure was on the accountably front — the main plank of his election campaign. The National Accountability Bureau, he said, had taken corruption cases to courts, but major opposition figures were not being prosecuted despite there being evidence of corruption against them. Moving forward, the PM said the next three months are very important. He did not elaborate whether to expect some positive developments related to the economy and/or foreign policy. Whatever change is in the offing it should aim at providing relief to the people from runaway inflation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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