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Army chief extension bill passed in Senate

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 8, 2020 | Last Updated: 6 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jan 8, 2020 | Last Updated: 6 months ago
Army chief extension bill passed in Senate

Photo: AFP

The Senate has passed the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2020 paving the way for Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to complete his extended term in office.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani asked senators to vote on the bill and it was passed unanimously. It will become a law after the president approves it.

The bill, which sets the retirement age of services chiefs at 64 years, was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday after more than two-third of the members voted in its favour.

Here’s what the new law proposes:

  • The previous law had not set any retirement age limit for the army, naval and air force chiefs as well as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee. Now, it is has been set at 64 years. Any person who is older will not be allowed to hold the post.
  • It also allows the president to reappoint or extend the tenure of all chiefs and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee on the PM’s advice.
  • The bill states that the “exercise of discretion by the appointing authority” in this regard will not be questioned by any court on “any ground whatsoever”.
  • If the law is passed, then it will be deemed to have taken effect on November 27, 2019 and not on the day it is passed.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had appointed the current COAS for another term of three years on August 19, 2019. The president then granted him the extension.

The extension was then challenged on the grounds that it is offensive to Article 243(4)(b) of the Constitution. The case was initially filed by the Jurists’ Foundation but after it asked to withdraw the case, the Supreme Court decided to take it up itself.

During the hearing, the court explored the scope of Article 243 of the Constitution, and the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.

The court on November 28 extended Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure by six months, till May, and ordered the government to make a law regulating such appointments. The detailed verdict was released on December 16.

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