Cabinet approves amendment to Army Act: sources

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The Federal Cabinet on Wednesday approved an amendment to the Army Act in light of the directions given by the Supreme Court last month in a case pertaining to the extension in tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. 

An emergency meeting of the cabinet was convened today under the chair of Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the amendment in the Act for the extension in service of the army chief. According to sources, it is expected that the government may table the bill in the current session of the parliament.

President Arif Alvi had on Tuesday convened a session of both the upper and lower house of the parliament on a twenty-four hour notice. The move was unexpected, since the upper house of the legislature had not met for 124 days, apart from a requisitioned session. 

Also read: SC permits govt to extend COAS General Bajwa’s tenure by six months

SC directs government to legislate on COAS tenure

The apex court had in late November asked the government to legislate on the extension in service of the COAS within six months, allowing General Bajwa to stay in office until then, after briefly suspending the notification of the extension in his tenure.

Earlier in August, PM Imran had approved the extension in service of the COAS through an executive order. However, former chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa had in late November taken up a petition ‘in public interest’ challenging the extension in service of the COAS. 

Also read: SC issues detailed verdict on army chief’s extension

While taking up the petition, the former chief justice had dismissed a plea by the petitioner, Riaz Rahi, to take back the plea he had filed earlier that year challenging the extension in service of the army chief. A three member bench of the top court had heard the case. 

Last month, after the top court issued the detailed verdict in the COAS case, the government had filed a review petition in the SC, pleading the court to form a larger bench to hear the case, and requesting it to keep the proceedings in-camera.