Pakistan army chief gets 6-month extension from court

Pakistan army chief gets 6-month extension from court
Updated 29 November 2019

Pakistan army chief gets 6-month extension from court

Pakistan army chief gets 6-month extension from court
  • PM terms the verdict “great disappointment” to foreign enemies and local mafias
  • Legal experts say Gen Bajwa’s appointment will be considered null and void if parliament fails to legislate within six months

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top court on Thursday granted a six-month extension to army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s term of office after the government made assurances over legal issues.

The Supreme Court had initially blocked a three-year government extension to Bajwa’s tenure, which was due to expire at midnight on Thursday, citing procedural and legal flaws.

During the latest hearing, the apex court gave the Pakistani Parliament six months to produce new legislation to govern the process. Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa said: “We leave this matter to Parliament to make law regarding this.” 

On Tuesday, the court suspended on procedural grounds the government’s notification of Aug. 19, extending the general’s term for another three years.

The chief justice told the court that Prime Minister Imran Khan had requested the reappointment of Bajwa, but the President Arif Alvi had issued a notification for an extension of the general’s tenure. “They (the government) never bothered to check what was written and what they were sending (to the president for approval),” he said.

On the handling of the matter, he added: “They (the government) should not do something like this with a high-ranking officer.”

Shortly after Tuesday’s hearing, premier Khan convened a special session of the Cabinet to discuss the issue. A new summary for the extension of Bajwa’s tenure was approved and duly endorsed by both Khan and Alvi.

Pakistan’s Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan tried to play down the gaffe, referring to it as a “clerical error.” He said that the process was “nothing new” adding that extensions had been granted to different army chiefs in the past and were “notified in the same manner.”