The Pakistan government has decided to file a review petition on the verdict of that country’s Supreme Court’s to extend the tenure of Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. Law Minister Farogh Naseem and the country’s attorney-general have prepared the first draft of the petition.
Quoting the law minister, The Dawn reported that the government would challenge the court order on the basis of several legal aspects.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had approved the extension of the conditional service of Gen Bajwa, which was considered a relief for Prime Minister Imran Khan. However, not accepting the Khan government’s plea fully, the court ruled that the tenure of Bajwa could be extended to not more than six months. The government has asked for an extension of three years.
A three-member bench headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court heard the case. Apart from the then Chief Justice Asif Said Khan Khosa (retd 20 December), the bench had Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah.
On 19 August 2019, Prime Minister Khan extended three years in Bajwa’s tenure. The decision had the stamp of approval of President Arif Alvi. Khan cited the regional security environment as the reason behind his decision.
Bajwa’s term was supposed to end on 29 November. Some petitioners challenged the government decision to extend his service under Article 243 (4) (b) of the Pakistani constitution. The Jurist Foundation had initially registered the case.
During the hearing, the court considered Article 243 of the constitution and the Pakistan Army Act 1952. On 28 November, the court extended Bajwa’s tenure by six months and ordered the government to legislate for such appointments.
A 43-page written order was released on 16 December. The court referred the matter to the parliament so that such “mistakes” do not happen in the future. The court urged the parliament to fix the term for the post of Pakistan Army chief.
The radical section of Islamists in Pakistan, in the meantime, questioned how genuine a Muslim Gen Bajwa was. Only a Muslim can be the chief of Pakistan Army as per that country’s constitution.