Supreme Court verdict in COAS General Qamar Bajwa tenure extension case

Supreme Court verdict in COAS General Qamar Bajwa tenure extension case

ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court (SC) allowed on Thursday the extension of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa's tenure for six months.

Earlier, the SC and government's representative mulled over extending a conditional three-month extension in COAS's tenure while the government comes up with a legislation. The government then presented a written summary undertaking that the parliament will pass legislation regarding the extension matter within six months and also an amended notification.

The amendments included the elimination of the mention of the SC, duration of the army chief's tenure and the description of army chief's salary and incentives.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah took up Riaz Hanif Rahi's petition against the extension in tenure of army chief.

The army chief is being represented by Farogh Naseem, who resigned from his post as law minister on Tuesday. During the hearing today, the bench asked Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan to present the extension notification issued for former army chief General (retd) Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani as well as that of General (retd) Raheel Sharif's retirement.

The AG also submitted the summary of the third draft notification prepared by the government yesterday. Reading out the summary, the CJP asked why does the summary mention SC.

“Bear your own burden, why do you use our name? Do your own work, why do you drag us in the middle?" He also directed the AG to eliminate the mention of the SC from the summary. He told the AGP to specifically remove the part referencing the court's advice from the summary. “If the president wants our advice, that is a different matter," the chief justice said.

The bench noted that Bajwa was already the army chief and inquired how can an appointment be made on a position that is already occupied. The SC remarked that there is no mention of a tenure of three years in the law.

Justice Shah asked the AG to suggest how to fix laws regarding the army. The AG replied that it would take time more than three months pass legislation on this matter. Naseem said that the government will make amends in Article 243 and was ready to even provide a written summary.