Govt seeks stay on SC’s ruling against COAS extension Demands larger bench comprising five judges

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

The federal government on Thursday sought a stay order from the Supreme Court against its November 28 verdict for the extension of army chief’s service.
The government in its plea requested the Supreme Court “to accept the application and suspend/stay the operation of the impugned judgment dated November 28, 2019, in the interest of justice”.
This is the second petition filed in this high-profile case by the government.
On December 26, the law ministry had approached the top court against its detailed judgement, issued on December 16, in which the federation was ordered to legislate on the matter within six months.
The petition filed Thursday prayed to the court that “The petitioners have a strong prima facie case to succeed; hence the operation of the impugned judgement may be suspended/stayed till the final decision of this civil review petition.”
It further stated that the “balance of convenience lies in favour of the petitioners” and if the “injunction as prayed is not granted, the petitioners will suffer irreparable loss.”

The plea asked the chief justice to “constitute a larger bench comprising five judges so as to hear the review petition.” In its previous petition against the detailed order, the government had pleaded the court to keep the proceedings in-camera.
The petition further argued that the top court’s verdict did not take into account “important constitutional and legal” points. It further stated that the apex court has itself “been giving extensions to additional and ad-hoc judges”, making a case for the government to exercise this discretion as well.
Govt seeks PML-N’s support separately, a government delegation headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and comprising Ali Muhammad Khan and Shibli Faraz met with members of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) over the COAS extension issue.
“Will contact other opposition members after meeting with PML-N,” Khattak said after the meeting.
The defence minister added he was hopeful that the consultations will end by tonight. “Will bring the bill to Parliament after consultations,” he added.
PM to be formally empowered to grant extension. The federal cabinet in an emergency meeting on Wednesday had accorded its approval to an amendment in the Army Act under which the prime minister will be empowered to extend the tenure of all services chiefs.
The bill pertaining to the amendment will be tabled in the National Assembly tomorrow (Friday).
The amendment has been prepared according to the guidelines enumerated in the Supreme Court’s verdict.