Pak Gen Bajwa.

Pak Gen Bajwa.

SC adjourns hearing on Gen Bajwa’s extension till Thursday

Three-year term of Gen Bajwa as Chief of Army ending on Thursday midnight

Agency Report | Islamabad | 27 November, 2019 | 11:40 PM

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of a case pertaining to the extension given to incumbent Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa until Thursday.

An SC bench comprising of Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case. The army chief was represented by Farogh Naseem, who resigned from his post as law minister on Tuesday to pursue the case, while Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan presented arguments on behalf of the government, Dawn reported.

The day-long hearing was adjourned twice. The second time the court resumed proceedings, the attorney general informed the court that the summary which notifies Gen Bajwa’s extension had referred to Article 243 and Article 245 of the Constitution.

The chief justice wondered how it was that no one had bothered to read the summary once again.

The attorney general attributed the gaffe to “clerical errors” by the ministry.

The chief justice also inquired whether a retired officer can be reappointed.

The attorney general said that “until the command is handed over to another general, the army chief cannot be considered retired”.

“There is still time. The government should step back and assess what it is doing,” the chief justice remarked. “They should not do something like this with a high-ranking officer.”

The attorney general argued that the process was “nothing new”. “Extensions were notified in the same manner in the past.”

To this, Justice Alam responded: “In the past, the court never stepped in to assess someone’s extension in tenure.”

The proceedings were then adjourned until Thursday.

The three-year term of Gen Bajwa as Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) is ending on Thursday at midnight. He will be able to continue in service if the SC decides the case in his favour before November 29.