ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khwaja Asif said Thursday President Dr Arif Alvi did what his office demanded. The minister was talking to Hamid Mir in the Geo News programme Capital Talk.
Referring to the signing of Army top appointments summary sent to the President by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the defence minister said it was an expression of political wisdom by Dr Arif Alvi.
The programme host reminded the defence minister his utterance, “I do not accept Arif Alvi as President”. Kh Asif replied he would say that seeing the president behaving like a PTI worker. “He deserves my praise while he does his job as the president and the supreme commander,” he said. He was of the view that the state of agitation had ended to a great extent with the appointments of top Army officers.
When asked about the matter of retention which the cabinet discussed on Thursday, the defence minister said it was provided in the Army Act and also mentioned in the summary sent to the president. Giving the background of the matter, the defence minister said an officer in the Army above the rank of major required permission from the Defence Ministry for retirement. There was also an option of retention for a year.
When asked to comment on the point of view of outgoing Army Chief General Bajwa that the defeat in East Pakistan was not military but political, the defence minister said, “No doubt our Army fought bravely. I accept it was not a military defeat.”
“But the rulers at that time were doing politics in uniform. The military ruler had taken over the charge from military head of government, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, two years ago,” he said, adding the military had been ruling the country since 1958.