The supreme court of Pakistan against the wishes of the government has denied another three years extension to COAS General Bajwa, questioning the logic behind it. An official hearing date has been set to address this issue.
COAS General Bajwa Extension Suspended
On Tuesday, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa along with Justice Mazhar Alam and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah conducted a hearing on a petition filed by the Jurist Foundation against the 3-year tenure extension of COAS General Bajwa, who was bound to retire on Nov 29.
Justice Khosa, while challenging the extension decision, argued that only the president could approve the extension of the chief of army staff and not the Prime Minister. He further argued that the government’s decision will be considered null and void.
The attorney general of Pakistan, while defending the government’s decision, said the PM had gotten the approval of the president before proceeding with the decision and had gotten the approval of the cabinet as well.
Only 11 Cabinet Members Had Approved
Out of 25 cabinet members, 11 approved and 14 abstained or decided to remain neutral on the extension of COAS General Bajwa’s extension due to their absence remarked the chief justice of Pakistan. He further questioned if the president had approved the decision to extend the general’s tenure on Aug 19 then why the PM sought another approval on Aug 21. To which the attorney general said the PM wanted the cabinet’s approval as well.
Reason Behind The Extension
The notification about the extension of COAS had highlighted the current security situation as the main reason behind the extension. Chief Justice of Pakistan, while commenting on the reason presented, said this is a vague reason if the approval of this extension goes through it may provide others to seek an excuse on the same basis.
This isn’t the first time the tenure of a serving COAS has been extended. Before this general Pervez Musharraf and then General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had their tenure extended. As of now, the extension notice shall be considered void, and a formal notification to all the relevant parties has been sent, and a date for an official hearing has been set.