Pak SC to announce verdict for Army chief Bajwa's case

Prime Minister Imran Khan through an official notification of August 19 granted a three-year extension to General Bajwa, citing "regional security environment". (Photo by Reuters)

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday directed the government to present a new order for the extension of Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa's service as it heard a plea against extending his tenure.

For the third consecutive day, a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah heard the petition filed by a person named Raiz Rahi.

The apex court reserved the verdict till 1 PM. The important verdict would be announced by a 10-member full court.

During Thursday's hearing, the court directed the government to present a new summary for the extension in Bajwa's service.

The bench also directed that the new summary should not mention any time period for which the service of army chief would be extended.

It also directed that government should mention in the summary that it was prepared on the orders of the top court.

The bench also demanded documents related to the extension and pension of former Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and those related to the retirement his successor General Raheel Sharif.

As the documents were not readily available, the court suspended the proceedings for 15 minutes to give time to the government to produce the papers.

When the hearing restarted, Attorney General Anwar Mansoor told the court that government has made a fresh appointment of General Bajwa as Army chief under article 243 of the Constitution.

However, the court questioned how the fresh appointment was different from the previous appointment.

Prime Minister Imran Khan through an official notification of August 19 granted a three-year extension to General Bajwa, citing "regional security environment".

Bajwa's original tenure is set to expire on Thursday at midnight and he can continue as the Army chief if the Supreme Court decides the case in his favour before that.

The government withdrew the August 19 orders after the top court's observations in the case and issued a fresh notification which was also rejected by the court on Wednesday.

The unprecedented action by the apex court shook the high echelon of powers as the government scrambled to control the damage.

Prime Minister Khan held an emergency Cabinet meeting to deal with the precarious situation, with Gen Bajwa himself attending the deliberations.

The case was expected to have widespread ramification for the country and its powerful army.

Farogh Naseem, who resigned from his post as law minister on Tuesday to pursue the case, represented Gen Bajwa in the court.

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