ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday presided over another meeting of senior leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on the Supreme Court verdict granting extension in tenure of Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for six months, but remained "harsh" on the opposition despite the need to be in harmony with them to make smooth legislation on the issue of COAS’s service and extension as directed by the apex court.
In another development, Farogh Naseem again took the oath as law minister. President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to Mr Naseem who had resigned from his post on Tuesday to plead the case of the army chief in the Supreme Court.
A participant of the meeting told Dawn that the prime minister remained on the path of confrontation and continued “bashing” opposition leaders during the huddle. The prime minister repeated that those expecting “clash of institutions” and mafias were disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision.
Heaps praise on govt legal team
It has been learnt that the prime minister did not give any specific guideline to the party leaders in the light of the Supreme Court judgement and spent most of the time recalling what had happened during the three-day hearing on the COAS extension case.
PM Khan said the government would abide by the Supreme Court decision, adding that the judiciary had never raised such an issue regarding the appointment and extension of the COAS. Appreciating the work done by the government’s legal team, he said: “Difference of opinion is a beauty of democracy, but the legal team of the government did a remarkable job.”
Later, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the government and the opposition would pass legislation on appointment and tenure of the army chief with consensus.
“We will make smooth legislation through consensus,” she said, adding: “Prime Minister Imran Khan has formed a parliamentary committee comprising senior PTI leaders, which will deal with the issue of passage of the required legislation.”
Dr Awan said COAS Gen Qamar Bajwa was proud of the nation and, therefore, no one, even in the opposition, would oppose his extension in service.
Asked why the prime minister was bent upon criticising the opposition even at a time when the government needed opposition’s cooperation to pass the required legislation, she said: “There are always political and national narratives.”
The PM’s adviser said the country was in “a state of war” and in that situation the government believed that the legislation would also be passed not only from the National Assembly [where the PTI and its allies are in majority], but also from the Senate [where the opposition dominates].
She said the amendment directed by the Supreme Court was not related to an individual, but a legal issue which should be addressed through the spirit of nationalism and patriotism.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2019