ISLAMABAD    -    Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that behind-the-scenes at­tempts for ‘reconciliation’ can be successful by October 15.

He said otherwise, there would be ‘judo-karate’ on the streets. “Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has deliv­ered a lovely swinging yorker,” Sheikh Rashid said in a statement on the social media platform Twitter on Friday. “Now PPP and Shehbaz must deal with the issue of [army chief’s] appointment,” he added. In addition to criti­cising Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the former interior min­ister stated that Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did not even opt to fly in Shehbaz’s aircraft to Samarkand. He predicted that ‘judo-karate’ would be practised on the streets if the covert efforts to reconcile did not succeed by October 15. Sheikh Rashid, a close ally of Im­ran Khan’s party, further said that the MQM-P’s internal intrigues had put them in danger. “Time does not wait if decisions are not made on time,” he remarked. 

Rashid’s statement came days after ex-PM Imran made a dra­matic statement, saying the pro­cess of naming the next army chief should be postponed until after the next general elections. The suggestion effectively meant giv­ing the incumbent COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa another, albeit brief, extension. He claimed that neither Asif Ali Zardari nor Nawaz Sharif met the criteria for appoint­ing the new army chief, and that both lacked the moral ground to participate in such an important decision-making process. General Qamar’s six-year term expires in late November and the chief mili­tary spokesperson has already stated that the current army chief has no plans to seek an extension. So far, there has been no reaction from the military’s media wing to Imran’s latest statement.