Govt drafts third notification about army chief’s extension

28 Nov 2019


ATTORNEY General Anwar Mansoor Khan and Farogh Nasim coming out of the Supreme Court.—White Star
ATTORNEY General Anwar Mansoor Khan and Farogh Nasim coming out of the Supreme Court.—White Star

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and senior members of the federal cabinet on Wednesday put their heads together to deal with the legal crisis arising out of the Supreme Court hearing on extension in the tenure of the army chief for another three years.

Inside sources said the participants of the meeting drafted a third notification regarding the extension by addressing all concerns expressed by the apex court over the previous two notifications during the hearing of the case.

The hurriedly-called consultative meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Khan, reviewed pros and cons of the SC verdict likely to be announced on Thursday (today). The government’s legal team comprising former law minister Farogh Nasim, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and prime minister’s attorney Babar Awan gave a detailed briefing on three sessions of the SC hearing that lasted seven hours.

The army chief’s participation in the meeting was itself quite significant as he does not attend such meetings of government functionaries.

PM chairs high-level meeting also attended by Gen Bajwa

A source said the meeting decided that the new notification drafted would be signed and got approved by the cabinet members through circulation.

The prime minister expressed strong displeasure over the errors and lacunas in the previous two notifications about Gen Bajwa’s extension in service approved by him, the cabinet and President Dr Arif Alvi on Aug 19 and Nov 26.

It has been learnt that the prime minister has decided to take stern action against those responsible for preparing faulty notifications not once but twice and it is expected that some senior officials at the Prime Minister House and the law ministry will be transferred from their present positions.

Prime Minister Khan has also called a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s parliamentary committee at the Parliament House at 6pm on Thursday (today) to decide a future line of action in the light of the SC decision on the extension in tenure of the army chief.

When the Supreme Court took up a petition challenging the extension in tenure of the army chief [given by the prime minister on Aug 19] on Tuesday, the government scraped the previous notification and issued a fresh one the same day after its approval by the cabinet, prime minister and president.

Farogh Naseem, who had resigned from the post of law minister on Tuesday, faced strong criticism over lacunas in the notifications mentioned by the Supreme Court during the hearing of the case.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2019