Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had granted
an extension to the tenure of the country’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) for another three years on 19 August 2019 in view of the prevailing adverse security situation in the country. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who heads Pakistan’s most
powerful institution, was due to retire on 29 November 2019. Extension of COAS in Pakistan is not a taboo, in fact, it is a routine affair. This was the sixth extension of a sitting army chief’s term in Pakistan, the last being that of General Ashraf
Kayani in 2010. Four of the six army chiefs later declared martial law in the country. However, the three years term extensions to General Bajwa has generated unprecedented controversy and gathered a lot of media coverage, domestic as well as globally.
Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the decision to grant a three-year term extension to the powerful Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in a major blow to Prime Minister Imran Khan who had cited “regional security environment” for the move.
Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said, “If the (regional security) situation is so then the army as a whole body can deal with the situation, not the individual. If this criterion is allowed then every individual in the army can demand an extension on
the same grounds.” He also said Khan’s office has failed to follow procedure by submitting the extension request itself, rather than going through the office of Pakistan’s president.
The petition against Bajwa’s extension was filed by a person named Riaz Rahi, who later filed an application to withdraw it. However, Chief Justice rejected the withdrawal bid and took up the
petition as public interest litigation under Article 184.