Govt issues new notification of COAS tenure extension

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Makes amendment in rules of Article 255 of Pakistan Army Act 1952; Farogh resigns, will represent govt in SC hearing on Bajwa’s extension

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

The government has issued a new notification in connection with the extension in tenure of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa after Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa suspended the first one earlier on Tuesday.
“The federal cabinet has taken back the first notification of extension in the army chief’s tenure issued with the prime minister’s signatures on August 19,” Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, flanked by Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability Shehzad Akbar and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, said in a news conference here.
Summary of the new notification was presented to the cabinet, which approved it, he said, adding that the summary was sent to President Arif Alvi for the final approval.
Shafqat said the cabinet made amendments in rules of Article 255 of Pakistan Army Act 1952. “Word extension in tenure has been added,” he added.
He said the prime minister had the prerogative to recommend appointment of services chiefs to the president under Article 243 of the Constitution.
The education minister said the decision was taken owing to strained relations with India. “The whole world knows about the prevailing tension at the Line of Control and extraordinary situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
The development came after the chief justice took up a withdrawal application of a petition challenging the army chief’s tenure extension earlier in the day. Justice Khosa rejected the application and took up the petition under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution under public interest.
The case was converted into a suo motu. The apex court also issued notices to the defence ministry, the federal government and Gen Qamar, who is due to retire on November 29. The hearing was adjourned until today, Wednesday.
The apex court, in a verbal order after Tuesday’s hearing, said Prime Minister Imran Khan issued the notification in his own capacity and the mistake was realised after the said notification was issued. “The prime minister then sent the summary to the president who then approved it on August 19,” it said.
The court in its verbal order further said that dealing with regional security was the job of the army as an institution and is not the sole responsibility of an officer. “If the reasoning [regional security] is accepted, then all officers would want a reappointment.”
The apex court further observed that the attorney general could not provide any legal reasoning for the extension and according to the Army Rules, the retirement of an officer can be temporarily suspended only.
Prime Minister Imran had announced the reappointment of Gen Qamar in August, citing regional security environment. However, in recent weeks there had been speculations in the media with some questioning as to whether a formal notification of extension in tenure had been issued.