‘Any COAS acceptable if appointed on merit’

After KP, Imran takes oath of allegiance from Punjab leaders ahead of long march

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said that he does not care who the next chief of army staff (COAS) would be, but the army chief should be chosen on merit.

During a meeting with senior journalists at the Punjab Chief Minister’s House, the PTI chief – taking a dig at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif – wondered how a criminal could decide on such a major appointment.

Regarding the cypher gone ‘missing’, Imran said it was not stolen from anywhere, adding that the original copy of the cypher was still with the Foreign Office.

He said an NRO was given to the opponents once again. “I will not tell anyone the date when the long march will take place because our conversations are being recorded. I did not tell Shah Mehmood either,” Imran added.

Rebuking the chief election commissioner (CEC), he said that he had never seen such a biased head of the commission, adding that Sikandar Sultan Raja wanted to disqualify him. “I did not do anything illegal, and I want to challenge the ECP to hear Nawaz and Zardari’s cases simultaneously. Then everything will become crystal clear,” he added.

“Everything can be done through negotiations. In the end, things are settled only through negotiations,” he said.

A day after taking oath of allegiance from the party leaders hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Imran took the same oath from the MNAs and MPAs of Punjab ahead of his final call of long march towards Islamabad.

The former premier spent a busy day in Lahore on Wednesday where he held several meetings at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat before cutting his 70th birthday cake in the evening. The oath of allegiance with party chairman was also read by Aslam Iqbal that was endorsed by party workers, MNAs, MPAs and other office-bearers who attended the meetings.

Imran is taking the oath of allegiance from his party workers ahead of his ‘haqeqi azadi march’ that he is planning towards Islamabad to oust the federal government. On Wednesday, he took the oath from MNAs and MPAs of PTI hailing from Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Gujrat and Lahore. When Imran came to address the office-bearers of Lahore, the female workers of the party chanted ‘happy birthday’, as it was his 70th birthday.

“I’ll announce the date of long march soon and it will be my last call before the elections,” Imran said while addressing the lawmakers.