Cabinet approves circulation summary of COAS tenure extension

ISLAMABAD: Federal cabinet gave approval to circulation summary of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure extension on late Wednesday night.

According to sources, a new summary regarding the extension of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa was formulated by the Federal Government after the Supreme Court heard a case into the matter. Sources said that the summary was sent to cabinet members through special messenger for their opinion on the matter.

The summary was formulated in an emergency session under Prime Minister Imran Khan, where the Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was himself present along with the senior cabinet members, legal team and former law minister Farogh Naseem.

According to sources, consultation was held over today’s hearing in the Supreme Court on the issue of army chief s extension and the questions raised by the apex court were discussed in the meeting. In the new summary, the word  appointment  was replaced by word  extension , keeping in view the objection by the apex court.

Earlier, Farogh Naseem, who has recently resigned as Federal Minister for Law, and Attorney General Anwar Mansoor on Wednesday met Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan in Islamabad.

During the meeting, Farogh Naseem and Attorney General informed the premier about the Supreme Court (SC) proceedings over petition filed against the three-year extension granted to Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

It is to be mentioned here that SC s three-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that the court has been hearing the case on the petition filed by Riaz Rahi and have not taken suo motu notice.

Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned whether a retired general could be appointed as the army chief?

The attorney general said the amendment was made under Section 176 of the Army Act, and in the documents [presented before the court], for the absent members of the federal cabinet, it was written “waiting”.

The court responded that it had given the judgement after reading those documents. “Show us the provisions of the Law upon which implementation was done for the reappointment or extension [of the army chief]?” the court asked.

Mr Anwar Mansoor said he would answer the court after completing his arguments. “No book of army regulation is available in the market,” he said. “Where the term of the army chief is fixed for three years? Does the army chief retire after three years?” Justice Shah questioned.

CJP Khosa further asked under which provision of the Law this new regulation was made. The attorney general responded that an amendment was made to Article 255 in accordance with Section 176 of the ARR.

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