ISLAMABAD - Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, a citizen, yesterday filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking holding of referendum over grant of extension to Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.

Inter-Services Public Relations Director-General Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa rubbished on January 26 rumours regarding an extension in General Raheel Sharif's tenure as the chief of army staff. In a tweet, the ISPR said the army chief would retire on the due date in November this year.

Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, in his petition filed under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, made the president, the prime minister, defence, law and justice and interior secretaries as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan respondents.

He stated in the petition that a referendum should be held in the country to know public opinion on General Raheel‘s extension as COAS.

Following the ISPR tweet, a debate has started in the country; some circles have demanded an extension in the tenure of General Raheel Sharif while others have welcomed the statement, saying it will quell the speculations regarding extension in his service.

The petitioner said if former Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani could be given extension, why not it should be given to the incumbent COAS. He said in view of the internal and external situation, General Raheel Sharif must be given extension. He asked the apex court to summon the record of ex-army chief Kiyani’s extension.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was given a three-year extension as COAS by the Pakistan People’s Party government.