–Farogh Naseem says General Bajwa hasn’t been given any assurance
ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday prepared a new summary for extending the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Prime Minister Imran Khan held an emergency meeting with the army chief in the presence of senior members of the federal cabinet to discuss the recent situation which escalated following the Supreme Court’s (SC) suspension of government’s notification pertaining to Gen Bajwa’s tenure extension.
The government’s legal team briefed the premier and the cabinet about the objections raised by the apex court in the case during Wednesday’s hearing. Gen Bajwa was also consulted on the matter.
The high-level meeting held consultations over the amendments made in the rules of the Army Act. Reportedly, in the new summary, the government replaced the word “reappointment” with “extension in service” in light of the apex court’s order.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar and Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also attended the meeting.
Gen Bajwa’s counsel former law minister Farogh Naseem, Attorney General (AG) Anwar Mansoor Khan, senior PTI leader and legal expert Babar Awan as well as law secretary were also present.
Meanwhile, a meeting of PTI’s parliamentary party has been called at 6pm on Thursday, wherein political, economic and security situation will be discussed. All parliamentarians have been directed to ensure their presence at the meeting.
NO ASSURANCE GIVEN:
Farogh Naseem said that that the government did not give any assurance to the army chief neither did he seek any.
Speaking to on a television programme, the former law minister said that the army chief had been provided an extension just like it had been done in the past. “The Army Act is from the time of the British, some things are old and some needed amendments,” he added.
He said that the army chief did not require any assurance from the government. “He is a professional soldier and does not waste his time in such matters. He is an excellent human being and is doing a great job,” he added.
Earlier in the day, an SC bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Mian Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case, whereas the army chief was represented by the former law minister.
During the day-long hearing which was adjourned twice, the chief justice said that the prime minister had requested a reappointment whereas the president had issued a notification for extension in the army chief’s tenure, questioning the lack of seriousness in the case. The hearing was then adjourned till Thursday.
In an unprecedented move, the SC on Tuesday suspended the notification of a three-year extension in the tenure of the army chief.
The army chief — whose tenure was slated to end on Nov 29 — was given an extension by the prime minister in August. “General Qamar Javed Bajwa is appointed Chief of Army Staff for another term of three years from the date of completion of current tenure,” a notification issued from the Prime Minister Office (PMO) said at the time.