The federal cabinet made it clear on Tuesday that it was a unanimous decision to give General Qamar Javed Bajwa an extension for another three years as the chief of army staff, sources told SAMAA TV.
The cabinet meeting was summoned to discuss the petition filed by the Jurist Foundation against the General Bajwa’s extension in the Supreme Court.
The participants of the meeting were of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan, being the chief executive of the country, has the authority to extend the army chief’s tenure.
The prime minister also directed officials bring him the summary of extension in the army chief’s tenure.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court suspended the official notification that extended the tenure of the army chief.
The apex court said the attorney general was asked under which law an army chief’s tenure could be extended or he could be re-appointed. But the country’s top lawyer failed to explain it, the court added.
The case will now be heard Wednesday. The federal cabinet will be meeting again in a few hours to discuss the strategy for Wednesday’s court proceedings.
On August 19, the prime minister re-appointed the army chief. But when he was informed that he didn’t have the power to do so, as it was the prerogative of the president, then a summary was sent on the same day to the President House. President Arif Alvi then approved the re-appointment, according to the court.
After this, the government realized that the cabinet has to approve the extension. Then, on August 20, a day after the notification had been issued, a summary for the extension was sent to the cabinet: 11 out of 25 cabinet members approved the summary. The rest of the cabinet members did not respond. The court said that since the majority of the cabinet did not approve the summary, it could not be considered as approved. Even if it was considered approved by the cabinet, the summary was never sent back to the prime minister or the president.
The court said if the argument that the army chief’s tenure should be extended because of a threat to regional security was to be accepted, then everyone in the army would start seeking an extension in their tenures. It was not an individual’s responsibility, but the entire army’s as an institution to counter a regional threat.