The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the notification allowing the extension of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Notices have been issued to the Army Chief, Attorney General of Pakistan and the Ministry of Defence.
The Supreme Court heard a petition challenging the extension of the tenure of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa today (Tuesday).
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has suspended the notification of extension in service of the COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Unprecedented development.
— Ali Salman Alvi (@alisalmanalvi) November 26, 2019
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who was due to take retirement on November 29 this year, after completing his three-year term, was to serve his post until November 2022 after Prime Minister Imran Khan extended his tenure for another three years.
As per the official communique issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, General Bajwa’s tenure was extended in light of the “regional security environment.”
The notification issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stated, “General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure.”
Petition Challenging Gen Bajwa’s Extension
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, comprising of Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Mazhar Alam presided over the hearing.
The petition was filed by the Jurist Foundation, through its lawyer Riaz Hanif Rahi, who has appealed to the Supreme Court to declare Gen Bajwa’s extension as “null, void and illegal.”
JUST IN: Supreme Court fixed the date of hearing of a petition filed by The Jurists Foundation against extension of COAS Qamar Bajwa.
3-Judge bench headed by CJ Asif Khosa & comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah will hear the petitiom tomorrow.
— Sabih Ul Hussnain (@SabihUlHussnain) November 25, 2019
The application was rejected, however, Chief Justice took up the petition in public interest under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.
“Only the president of Pakistan can extend the tenure of the army chief,” he said during the hearing.
Last week, the incumbent government has dismissed the speculations regarding the extension in the tenure of the Chief of Army Staff after clarifying that the “notification for the reappointment of General Qamar as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) for another tenure had already been issued on August 19, 2019.”
Another petition challenging General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s extension has been filed in the Islamabad High Court. Petitioner, Shahid Orakzai, maintains in his petition that the three-year extension awarded to General Bajwa is a violation of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, as “that law does not give two terms to any military officer.”
The petitioner further added that such an extension “tends to frustrate the rank and file of the Pakistan Army.”
@nadeemmalik @paktoday @AajKamranKhan @_Mansoor_Ali @AnsarAAbbasi @AnwarLodhi @ARYSabirShakir @samiabrahim @arifhameed15 @SSEHBAI1@javedchaud
Petition filled in IHC on the extension of COAS pic.twitter.com/Uel3vChbVP
— Farhad Shahid (@FarhadShahid3) November 21, 2019
The petitioner demands that the decision made by Prime Minister Imran Khan on General Bajwa’s extension be declared invalid, alongside directing the Secretary Defense to immediately initiate the process of appointing a new Chief of Army Staff in accordance with the Clause (4) of the Article 243.
Gen Bajwa’s extension was received as one of the most controversial headlines across the country this year, and while many applauded the extension, many came forward to oppose the decision, criticizing that it is a violation of the norms of the Pakistan Army.
Delighted at the extension accorded to Gen. Qamar Bajwa!
He has led magnificently in an extremely challenging environment.
Fascist Hindutva hysteria knocking at our doors, this extension would send shivers down the spine of the racist Modi Government. Try us, and then repent!! pic.twitter.com/DYsNqVX3N4
— Zartaj Gul Wazir (@zartajgulwazir) August 19, 2019
Extensions destroy the army from within.
Nobody in this country ever wants to give up power, least of all the man who is the most powerful person in this country.
It's a shame & a very sad day. Will be remembered as a blot on the PTI govt's 'legacy' for Pakistan.
— Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir (@ImaanZHazir) August 19, 2019