Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday permitted the federal government to grant a six-month extension to Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case.
In its short order the top court directed the government to bring necessary legislation within six months' time.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa read out the order.
As per the order, the court directed the parliament to introduce legislation for appointment of army chief under Article 243.
CJP Justice Khosa remarked that the court is observing judicial restraint and leaving the matter to the parliament. We have reviewed several laws including Army Act 1952 and Rule 1954, the chief judge said.
Earlier on Thursday, the top court reserved its verdict on petition pertaining to extension in Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure for next three years.
Farogh Naseem, who resigned as Ministry of Law on Tuesday, was representing the army chief before the court.
During Wednesday’s hearing, CJP Khosa said that media had misunderstood Tuesday's proceedings and clarified that the court had not taken suo motu notice. "We are continuing your petition," the top judge told the petitioner.
The court asked Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan if the government had accepted the points raised by the court yesterday. To this, the attorney general replied that they have not accepted the mistake.
The CJP remarked they will hear everyone as it is an important issue, adding that earlier this question was never raised and now that it has been brought forward, all the legal aspects of will be reviewed.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, referring to the point raised on Tuesday that only 11 cabinet members had earlier approved the extension, said: “Answers had not been submitted in the time fixed for cabinet members.”
“According to Rule 19, silence means ‘yes’,” the AG said as he submitted a new set of documents in court.
Justice Shah also observed that Article 243 of the Constitution refers to the appointment of an officer and asked if the article also mentions the “period of appointment as well”.
“As per Article 243, the president of the state is the supreme commander of the Pakistan Army.
As per the same article, the heads of the armed branches are appointed on the advice of the president and the prime minister,” said the AG.
“Can a retired general also be deputed as the army chief? Justice Shah further asked.
Observing that the matter of an army chief’s tenure is extremely important and a few generals have granted themselves extension in the past, the chief justice said: “We will carefully look at this issue so that this does not happen in the future.”
“This is an extremely important issue and the Constitution is silent on it,” added Justice Khosa. The attorney general then presented a new summary for an extension in the army chief’s tenure.