Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday directed the federal government to present a new order for the extension of army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, heard a petition challenging the extension of COAS General Bajwa, the Pakistan media reported.
Furthermore, the apex court has sought an undertaking from the government that it would legislate on the matter within six months.
At the outset of the hearing earlier today, the chief justice asked Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan to present the notifications regarding the extension in the tenure of former army chief (retd) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and retirement of (retd) General Raheel Sharif.
“We were told yesterday that generals never retire,” CJP Khosa said.
The attorney general informed the court that Bajwa was reappointed under Article 243, to which the CJP remarked that “you have to convince us this is legal.”
After the arguments from the attorney general and Farogh Naseem–former law minister who resigned from his post to represent the army chief, the bench stated that the court will announce the short order in the afternoon while the detailed verdict would be issued in the evening.
Meanwhile, the court granted Bajwa permission to continue working, conditionally.
The court also asked for a written statement from the government that “legislation pertaining to the extension will be prepared within six months,” the CJP added.
“You are giving the incumbent chiefly a three-year extension, so what if a more capable military officer is on service? Would you grant him a thirty-year extension?” the CJP questioned.
The SC on Wednesday said there were three points which the court will consider on the issue of extension to the tenure of the army chief: the law, procedure involved, and grounds for granting an extension.
The federal government, aided by the military’s legal wing, prepared a new summary yesterday removing all the legal lacunae pointed out by the apex court earlier in the day.
On August 19, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved an extension in the tenure of Gen Bajwa for another three years citing a “regional security environment”.