The Supreme Court’s bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah resumed the hearing of the case against extension in Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa’ tenure.
The army chief is being represented by Farogh Naseem, who resigned from his post as law minister yesterday to pursue the case. As the hearing went underway, the top court denied the rumors of suo moto notice on Army Chief’s extension. CJP Khosa remarked that court is hearing the case on the petition filed by Riaz Rahi and have not taken suo motu notice.
Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan took to the rostrum and said he wished to “clarify something”. “I referred to army rules yesterday. The court wrote ‘law’ in its order,” the AG said, to which the chief justice said: “The court had given its order after looking at your documents.”
Referring to the point raised by the court yesterday that only 11 members of the cabinet had earlier approved the extension, Justice Shah observed: “Answers had not been submitted in the time fixed for cabinet members.”
“Answers had not been submitted in the time which was fixed for cabinet members,” Justice Shah observed. “According to Rule 19, silence means ‘yes’,” the AG said.”According to Rule 19, [silence] is considered ‘yes’ only if there is a fixed time [to answer],” Justice Khosa said. Justice Shah inquired if a retired general can be appointed as an army chief.
He also observed that Article 243 talks about appointment of an officer and asked: “Does it mention 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 does not happen in the future”.
“This is an extremely important matter [and] the Constitution is quiet about this,” he added. Justice Shah asked if a general can continue to work if his tenure is extended two days before his retirement. “Where does it say that it is a three-year term?” he asked. 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,” AG said.
Mr Mansoor then submitted details of decisions taken by the federal cabinet in the courtroom, and stated that the impression that there was no provision in the Law for granting extension in army chief’s tenure was wrong.
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