ISLAMABAD - The federal government yesterday sought a stay order from the Supreme Court against its November 28 verdict for extension in Army Chief’s service.

The petition prayed to the apex court that a stay order may remain in effect until a decision on the government’s review petition on the said verdict has been made. It also requested the court for the previously filed review petition to be included in the latest application and for constitution of a larger bench comprising five judges to hear the review petition.

The top court of the country granted six months extension to COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa on 28th November, 2019 and directed the Parliament that during this period legislation be made to determine his tenure and other terms and conditions of the service.

A three-judge bench order, headed by former Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa had said, “The current appointment of General Qamar Javed Bajwa as COAS shall subject to the said legislation and shall continue for a period of six months from today (28-11-19), thereafter the new legislation shall determine his tenure and other terms and conditions of service.”

After announcement of the detailed judgment, the federation submitted a review petition on Dec 26, 2019, against the top court’s verdict, requesting to set aside the same.

 

The government has raised 26 questions of law against the judgment while pleading for “preservation of two leading institutions” for a “healthy democracy”. In the petition, the government also apprised the top court that Gen Qamar’s contributions to national security “will go down in history” and “public at large has warmly welcomed” his reappointment.

The petition said, “The enemies of Pakistan were extremely happy when they thought that General Bajwa’s extension or re-appointment had fallen into jeopardy. It added that Pakistan was undergoing a 5th generation war.

“Very recently, the Pulwama incident bears testimony to the preparedness of our armed forces under the able captaincy of General Qamar, who on his proactive initiative has also mustered healthy military international relations and support for Pakistan.”

“The war on terror is not over. The wounds from the APS [Army Public School] incident are not forgotten. The preservation of two leading institutions of the state, i.e. the armed forces and the superior judiciary, are necessary concomitants to a healthy democracy, rule of law and safety and security against internal and external aggression. The enemies of the state, now for a number of years, have ganged up to destabilise and discredit Pakistan,” maintained the petition.

It continued that General Bajwa’s contribution to take vital steps so as to facilitate safety and security in the country will go down in history. The pulse of the people at large was that General Qamar’s re-appointment had been warmly welcomed.

The petition said, “There were seminars and processions in favour of General Qamar’s re-appointment, from which the pulse of the public opinion could be appreciated. In present times, it is most appropriate to re-appoint General Bajwa, who himself never sought a re-appointment.”

The petition argued that appointment of the COAS was strictly in accordance with the settled departmental practice which was being followed for seven decades or so. “If one would look into the parliamentary debates or otherwise, which make it rather clear that intentionally and deliberately the matter of appointment or extension of the COAS service tenure was left at the discretion of the prime minister/president.”

It further argued that the apex court could not interfere in the legislative domain or equip itself with the function of a parallel legislative authority.

“It is respectfully pointed out that direction to the legislature could only be given by the courts so as to avert a situation of unconstitutionality or illegality. No judicial directions to the legislature could be given so as to convert a convention into codified law,” read the petition.