Supreme Court of Pakistan has resumed the hearing of a petition against the three-year extension granted to Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
As per the details, the top court’s three-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah presided over the hearing and remarked that the court has been hearing the case on the petition filed by Riaz Rahi and have not taken suo motu notice.
Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan is representing the government in the case.
Before the case was adjourned till 1 pm, as the case hearing commenced earlier today, the court clarified that the it had not taken suo-motu notice and media misunderstood the whole scenario.
Court said in remarks that “We are hearing the case on the petition filed by Raiz Riahi”, said the top judge.
Justice Shah inquired if a retired general can be appointed as army chief.
He also observed that Article 243 of the Constitution talks about the appointment of an officer and asked if the article mentions the period of appointment as well?
“The matter of the period of army chief’s tenure is very important,” the chief justice said. “In the past, five or six generals have granted themselves extensions. We will look at this matter closely so that this may not happen in the future.
He further added that “This is an extremely important matter and the Constitution is quiet about this?”.
Justice Shah asked if a general can continue to work if his tenure is extended two days before his retirement.
He inquired that “Where does it say that it is a three-year extension ?. The attorney general admitted that the period of the tenure is not specified in the rules.
“The term tenure is used but the duration has not been specified anywhere,” said the Attorney General.
Chief Justice, in reply to Attorney General, told to“Read Rule 262(C) of the Army Act,”, “The retirement age of a general is 60 years.”
“This is about the matters of extension and reappointment,” Justice Shah said. “How will you prove this legally?
The attorney general insisted that the “definition of appointment also includes reappointment”.
“The rules mention retirement and discharge,” the chief justice noted.
He observed that the federal government can only suspend a retirement after an individual retires.
Further, he said that the retirement of an army chief “can be temporarily delayed” if a war is underway.
The Attorney General said that according to Article 176 of the Army Act, officials can be granted an extension of two months in case of a war.
“According to the law, during a war, the army chief can stop officers’ retirements,” the CJP noted. “However in this case, the government wants to stop the army chief’s retirement.”
Referring to the amendment in Section 255 of the Army Rules and Regulations, the chief justice asked: “Under which section of the Constitution and law was the rule amended?”
He then pointed out that Section 255 did not concern the army chief.
“The section that you amended is not about the army chief at all,” Justice Khosa said. “Article 255 is regarding those officials who have retired or have been expelled from service.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Federal cabinet approved the summary regarding the extension of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure.
The new approved summary was then forwarded to president Arif Alvi.
Soon after the SC suspension came in effect Prime Minister Imran Khan called an emergency meeting at PM office. The meeting, headed by PM Imran reviewed the decision taken by supreme court in detail.