With less than two weeks left for General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s retirement, the Pakistan government is trying to amend a 1952 law to give additional powers to the prime minister on the appointment and extension of the army chief’s tenure.
This information has been given in the media reports on Wednesday. Pakistan’s current army chief Bajwa is set to retire on November 29 after six years in office. He has also got a work extension in these six years.
The proposed amendment to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA), 1952, will empower the prime minister to extend the tenure of a retiring army chief by merely issuing a notification, the Dawn newspaper reported. The need for the old complicated constitutional process of the constitution which required the assent of the President would be done away with.
A senior advocate says in the news, “Under the current law, for re-appointment or extension of the army chief, the government has to follow the prescribed procedure in which the Ministry of Defense sends its proposal, which is approved by the Prime Minister. And it gets the final approval from the President.
As per the proposed amendment in proviso (a) of sub-section (2-A) of section 176 titled ‘Rule-making Powers’ of the PAA, in the present form of the Act, after the word ‘re-appointment’ the word ‘retention’ shall be inserted. , retaining someone on the post) should be added, while the word ‘retirement’ (resignation) should be added after the word ‘release’.
According to the news, the proposed amendment was approved by the Defense Ministry only last month and was to be placed in the meeting of the ‘Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC)’ on November 11, but it was canceled due to unknown reasons.
Senior-most among those in the race to become the next army chief, Lt Gen Asim Munir, is also set to retire within days of Bajwa’s term ending. The appointment of army chief may be a common thing for other countries, but it becomes very important in Pakistan because immense powers are attached with the post of army chief.