Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa was set to retire on Thursday at midnight. However, extension for his tenure has been approved on a conditional basis.
Asif Saeed Khosa who is leading the three-judge bench gave a short order for Gen. Bajwa’s extension for another six months on the condition that the parliament will draft a legislation on an army chief’s tenure period within six months. the three-judge bench has left the matter to the parliament.
Attorney General Anwar has assured:
The federal government will make the necessary legislation in this matter,
The short order announced by the three-judge bench led by Asif Saeed Khosa said:
Considering that the COAS is responsible for the command, discipline, training, administration, organization and preparedness for war of the Army and is the Chief Executive in General Headquarters, we, while exercising judicial restraint, find it appropriate to leave the matter to the Parliament and the Federal Government to clearly specify the terms and conditions of service of the COAS through an Act of Parliament and to clarify the scope of Article 243 of the Constitution in this regard,
A new summary and notification were presented in the court today. As per the notification, General Bajwa has been appointed as the army chief.
We have examined Article 243(4)(b) of the Constitution, Pakistan Army Act, 1952, Pakistan Army Act Rules, 1954 and Army Regulations (Rules), 1998 and inspite of the assistance rendered by the learned Attorney-General, we could not find any provision relating to the tenure of COAS or of a General and whether the COAS can be reappointed or his term can be extended or his retirement can be limited or suspended under the Constitution or the law.
The three-member bench said:
has taken pains to explain that the answers to these questions are based on practice being followed in the Pakistan Army
However, according to them the practice has not been systematized under the law.
The government was also instructed by the Supreme Court to make sure that:
parliament should pass legislation on the matter within six months
the Supreme Court also said that the extension will be void if the legislation is not passed stating:
If the legislation is not passed during the given time, the appointment will become illegal.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah also told to make the Army Act more clear and less vague stating:
There is no better forum than the parliament to fix the system.
Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel said that it should be made clear that the tenure of the Army Chief would be extended or a COAS be reappointed in the future as well.
Before the Court adjourned on Wednesday, Attorney General Anwar also submitted a summary of the draft notification for Gen. Bajwa’s extension. Earlier on Tuesday, the top court has suspended an earlier notification of reappointment of Gen. Bajwa.
However, the federal cabinet ended up approving a new summary for the extension of the tenure of COAS after the Supreme Court has suspended the earlier notification.
The apex court had suspended the notification by the time the cabinet had a meeting with the Prime Minister, Imran Khan saying that the Attorney General had failed to satisfy the judges.
However, lengthy discussions took place to discuss the Supreme Court’s order.
A new summary was then ended up being approved by the cabinet that added ‘extension in the service’ in the Army Regulation to assist the court.