Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Khosa on Wednesday clarified that the Supreme Court has not taken a suo motu notice in the case pertaining to the to the extension of army chief General Qamar Bajwa and is hearing the case on the request of the petitioner.
In today’s hearing, Justice Khosa told the attorney general that the government accepted the points raised by the court. He added that the government tried to correct these errors in the fresh summary because the court had objected to it.
However, the Attorney General Anwar Mansoor replied that the government has not accepted its mistakes.
The government’s lawyer also shared the document approved by the federal cabinet with the court after the CJP asked him to share the document.
Earlier, former law minister Farogh Nasim submitted the power of attorney on behalf of his client Army chief General Qamar Bajwa
The supreme Court had resumed its hearing on the government’s notification regarding the extension in the tenure of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, is hearing the petition challenging the extension of the COAS.
Yesterday, after the apex court heard the petition the federal cabinet met twice and reviewed the situation arising out of the SC order.
The cabinet, in its second meeting on Tuesday, amended the Rule 255 of the Army Regulation which was questioned by the court. It also approved a new summary for extension in the tenure of army chief General Qamar Bajwa and sent it to President Arif Alvi for approval.
While, federal law minister Farogh Naseem resigned from his post to represent the army chief in the case. The COAS was made a respondent in the case in yesterday’s hearing.
On Tuesday, the court noted that the prime minister had himself passed an order reappointing the current chief of army staff for a second term in that office on August 19 whereas under Article 243 of the Constitution, it is the president who is the appointing authority for that office.
The government on August 19 had notified reappointment of General Bajwa, extending his tenure by three years, citing “regional security environment”.
The court, while converting the withdrawal petition into suo motu proceedings, had issued notices to the federal government, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa through the Ministry of Defence as well as the Ministry of Law.
The court has made Gen Bajwa a respondent to the petition and held that the operation of the impugned order/notification in respect of extension/re-appointment of Gen Bajwa for another term in the said office will remain suspended.
In yesterday’s hearing, the attorney general had contended that according to Regulation No 255 of the Army Regulations (Rules) the retirement of an army officer can temporarily be suspended or limited. The court, however, observed that a bare perusal of Regulation No 255 prima facie shows that the said provision can be invoked after an officer has already retired from service and that is why the said regulation speaks of suspension of retirement or limiting of retirement.
The court had also questioned the process and found it to be flawed. The court also observed that another peculiar aspect is that after the purported or so-called approval of the cabinet regarding extension/re-appointment of the incumbent chief of army staff, the matter was never sent to the prime minister or the president again for the purpose of a fresh advice or a fresh order of the prime minister and the president respectively.
The court noted in the order that the stated purpose for the proposed re-appointment/extension in the term of the office of the incumbent chief of army staff is “regional security environment”.
The court said the points noted call for a detailed examination of the matter of extension/re-appointment of Gen Bajwa and made him a respondent to the petition. The army chief’s will be represented by former law minister Farogh Naseem, who had has resigned from his post last night.