Friday 13 December 2019
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Dawn News - 15 days ago

SC resumes hearing, asks for notification of Gen Kiyani s extension and Gen Sharif s retirement

All eyes are on the Supreme Court where a three-judge bench is hearing a case pertaining to the extension/reappointment of incumbent Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. As Gen Bajwa is set to retire at midnight, this is the last opportunity for the government to satisfy the court on the legal grounds of the move. As the hearing started, the bench — comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah — directed Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan to submit the extension notification issued for former army chief Gen (retd) Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani as well as that of Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif s retirement in the court. Under what section was Gen (retd) Kiyani granted an extension? the chief justice asked. We want to see what pension and perks Gen Kiyani got after retirement. Referring to the retirement of army generals, Justice Khosa said: If an army general never retires, then under what rule did Raheel Sharif retire? You said that generals never if they don t retire, then they wouldn t be entitled to pension either, he observed. The attorney general said that he wanted to assist the court on the matter. Justice Khosa said that the court will examine the grounds on which Gen (retd) Kiyani was granted an extension and adjourned the hearing for 15 minutes. Govt fails to satisfy court The chief justice, before adjourning the hearing yesterday, said that there were three points which the court will consider: the law the procedure involved the grounds for granting the army chief an extension He had said that the first two issues are very important and based on those, the court will announce its decision. Gen Bajwa will be able to continue his service if the Supreme Court decides the case in his favour before November 29. Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan outside the Supreme Court yesterday. — White Star During yesterday s hearing, the bench was irked by the fact that after Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan submitted a summary to President Arif Alvi for approval to reappoint the army chief on his retirement and the new appointment was made under Article 243(4) of the Constitution, but the notification later issued pertains to the grant of extension to the COAS for another term of three years. The attorney general chalked the gaffe up to clerical errors by the ministry. No one even bothered to read what they are issuing, Justice Khosa observed, regretting the way the law ministry dealt with the issue. Please settle the matter by Thursday because you have only one day or the time will be over and the court will decide in accordance with the Constitution and the law, the chief justice said, highlighting the need for urgency in view of COAS fast-approaching retirement. “You have amended Regulation 255 of the army rules in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting when it does not deal with the appointment of the army chief but that of other officers,” he observed. Recalling that several generals in the past had granted themselves extension, the court observed that it was necessary to settle the service matters of the army chief for all times to come. “Personalities don’t matter to us since it is a court of law,” the CJP said, explaining that the court would be satisfied if everything was done in a legal manner. To understand the scheme of the service structure, the court also asked the AG to read one by one the entire provisions of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 as well as the army rules and regulations. Army generals who extended their terms. — Courtesy Ramsha Jahangir Following the court s adjournment, an emergency meeting was called at Prime Minister House to debate the government s strategy for tomorrow s hearing. The meeting was attended by Gen Bajwa himself, along with Prime Minister Imran and several ministers. Later that night, a draft notification for Gen Bajwa s extension — keeping in view the court s observations — was prepared, which is expected to be submitted today. Suspension of notification In an unanticipated development on Tuesday, CJP Khosa had suspended the federal government s notification of Gen Bajwa s extension and issued notices to the army chief, defence ministry and the federal government. Read more: Gen Bajwa s extension hangs in balance as CJP suspends govt s notification The Supreme Court said the AG could not refer to any provision in any legal instrument regarding extension in service of the army chief upon completion of his first term for his re-appointment.

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