Pakistan government on Thursday sought a stay order from the Supreme Court against its November verdict in the extension of service case involving Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had extended Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure through a notification on August 19. However, the Supreme Court suspended the government order, citing irregularities in the manner the army chief, a close confidant of Khan, was granted an extension.
The government in its plea requested the apex court “to accept the application and suspend/stay the operation of the impugned judgment dated November 28, 2019, in the interest of justice”. This is the second petition filed in this high-profile case by the government, Geo News reported.
On November 28, Bajwa, 59, got a six-month conditional extension from the apex court, ending an unprecedented legal wrangle that shook the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and pitted the powerful military against the judiciary.
On December 26, the law ministry had approached the top court against its detailed judgement, issued on December 16, in which the government was ordered to legislate on Gen Bajwa’s extension within six months. The petition filed on Thursday prayed to the court that “The petitioners have a strong prima facie case to succeed; hence the operation of the impugned judgement may be suspended/stayed till the final decision of this civil review petition.”
It further stated that the “balance of convenience lies in favour of the petitioners” and if the “injunction as prayed is not granted, the petitioners will suffer irreparable loss.”
The plea asked the chief justice to “constitute a larger bench comprising five judges so as to hear the review petition.”
In its previous petition against the detailed order, the government had pleaded the court to keep the proceedings in-camera.
On Wednesday, at an emergency meeting of the Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Khan, approved amendments to the Army Act, nearly four weeks after it assured the Supreme Court of passing a legislation on the extension and reappointment of an Army chief within six months.
The amended Bill will now be presented before the Parliament to come into effect. Though the details regarding the amendments are not yet clear, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said it includes a proposal to extend the tenure of all the three services chiefs.
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