Refusing to play second fiddle to the powerful military, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he will be the Army chief’s “boss” if voted back to power in the May 11 general elections.
A combative Sharif, whose party PML-N is widely expected to form the next government, hinted that the current army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani would be replaced by the “senior most” when he retires in November this year.
“All I know is when I was Prime Minister, the policies were being formulated by the federal government, by the civilian head of the state and then of course executed by the institutions,” Mr. Sharif said in an interview to an Indian news channel.
Replying to a query if under his rule, the Army would continue to control Pakistan’s relations with U.S. and India besides security policies of the government, he said: “I want that to continue and I’m very clear on that, that everybody must remain in their respective domain.”
Asked if that means the Prime Minister will be Army chief’s boss, he said that the Army is an attached department of the federal government and of course the Chief of Army staff works under the federal government and implements the policies of the federal government.
Replying to a query whether an extension would be given to Kayani, Mr. Sharif said: “I don’t think he (Kayani) will ask any further extension or he will be interested in any further extension. I will go by the book; I will go by the merit. Whosoever is the senior most, will have to occupy this...the next one, the next in line.”
Mr. Sharif, who spoke on a wide range of issues, also stressed on the importance of a combination of dialogue and armed intervention as an answer to combat terrorism in Pakistan. He said there was no vendetta against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, but said he will bring a treason trial against him for imposing martial law twice in the country.