Federal Cabinet approves Army Act amendment bill

Federal Cabinet discusses various important issues

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan on Wednesday has chaired emergency meeting of Federal Cabinet and approved amendment in Army Act for the extension of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s (COAS) service tenure.
According to details, the amendment bill will be presented in the parliament after approval.
Meanwhile, the premier has also informed the attendees about the targets set to be achieved in 2020.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had allowed extension/reappointment of Gen Bajwa for another six months and asked the government to determine the tenure, terms and conditions of the service of the army chief through legislation within the period.
The court summarised its findings after exploring the scope of Article 243 of the Constitution — which governs the army chief’s appointment, reviewing the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, reviewing the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, the Pakistan Army Act Rules, 1954, and the Army Regulations (Rules).
The SC further clarified that in case the federal government remains unable to regulate the tenure and terms of service of a general and as a consequence of the army chief through an appropriate legislation by the parliament within a period of six months, “the tenure of the constitutional post of COAS could not be left totally unregulated and to continue forever” as “this would be inconceivable and amount to a constitutional absurdity.”
In case of such failure of the federal government, the verdict stated, the institutional practice of retirement of a general on completion of the tenure of three years “shall stand enforced” to regulate the tenure of Gen Bajwa and consequentially his tenure as COAS, from the date of his promotion to the rank of general and appointment as the army chief, i.e. November 29, 2016.
In that case, “the president shall, on advice of the prime minister, appoint a serving general officer as the new COAS”, the judgment added.
The apex court dismissed the impression that the various summaries prepared by the government in the same matter were drafted on its orders or directions.
“In fact, the court simply highlighted steps taken by the president, the prime minister and the cabinet, without any supporting law and as a consequence they on [their] own tried to rectify the same. The impression generated that the said steps were taken on the desire, orders or directions of the Court is dispelled.”


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