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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addresses a press conference. —PID/File 

KARACHI: Calling him a player of the undemocratic game, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Saturday said PTI Chairman Imran Khan was out to dispute the constitutional appointment of the chief of army staff (COAS).

“Khan wants to controversialise this critical appointment as well as the execution of constitution through his politics of protest,” Bilawal said talking to journalists in Islamabad.

“Khan’s long march has no democratic agenda behind it as he only wants to link it to the appointment.”

Bilawal said he was warning Imran Khan and other forces to refrain from playing such games.

He said only the Prime Minister of Pakistan was authorised to appoint the army chief and “we are going to stand by whoever our premier names as the new chief of the army staff”.

Bilawal advised Imran Khan to first let the prime minister decide on the appointment and then descend on the federal capital with his cohorts for a rally. 

“The process of the appointment is scheduled to start by next week. He should allow to constitutional procedure to take its course. He can march a week after the appointment of the army chief.”

He said Khan was mistaken to think his politics would survive in the event of sabotage to the democratic process. 

On any possible resistance from President Arif Alvi in the appointment of the COAS, Bilawal said when the president was put to test last time, he dissolved the legislative assemblies unconstitutionally.

If President Alvi tried to impede the appointment, there would be consequences. 

Replying to a question, the foreign minister said he did not think PTI’s long march protest had ‘nothing’ to do with the postponement of Saudi crown Mohamad bin Salman.

“It may have a minor role in the shelving of the Saudi head of the state,” the PPP Chairman said.

Bilawal said they successfully carried out a constitutionally undertaken no-trust motion.

To avoid losing a no-trust vote, Khan offered General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the outgoing COAS, a lifetime extension, which he rejected, Bilawal said.

Extending his flak on the PTI leader, Bilawal said Khan plunged the country into an economic crisis and claimed that the former prime minister was also conspiring to fail Pakistan’s loan agreement with IMF.

“From the very outset [or our party] we are against the sit-in protests. So we used a democratic way to send PTI government home,” Bilawal said adding the PPP had defeated such conspiracies in the past and would do the same now.  

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