PM’s talk of extending army chief tenure not mandated by Constitution: Abbasi

KARACHI: Imran Khan was creating an “unnecessary fuss” over the tenure of Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who observed that per the Constitution, a prime minister was only mandated to talk about the appointment of the army chief and not of their extension.

Abbasi’s comment came days after Khan said he is yet to give a thought to the matter of an extension in Gen Bajwa’s tenure which is coming to an end on November 28.

2022 “has just started and November is far away. Then why there is worry about extension in the tenure of” the military boss, Khan was quoted as saying by the press.

Gen Bajwa was due to retire on November 29, 2019, at the end of his three-year term but Khan gave him an extension of the same length, citing the regional security situation.

Today, Abbasi, who was speaking to the media in Karachi, questioned the use of the term “extension” by Khan, who used the word to answer a query relating to the matter posed during a recent interview.

Abbasi said the Constitution was clear on the army chief’s appointment. It says “the Constitution says the army chief is appointed for a period of three years. There has never been a debate on the matter [in Pakistan’s history]”.

Over the weekend, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal also hit out at Khan for “prematurely” speaking about the extension.

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