–Aitzaz Ahsan says courts cannot dictate the parliament
ISLAMABAD: Legal experts believe that the detailed judgement of the Supreme Court (SC) has left no room for the government but to move a simple amendment in the Army Act to facilitate the extension in the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Senior jurist Advocated Hamid Khan said that the detailed verdict of the apex court has cleared some issues regarding the army chief’s term extension.
Hamid said that even if the government goes to the court for a review of the verdict, it is very unlikely that it would change. “Although the incumbent chief justice is retiring, co-author of the verdict, Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, will be available for a review if the government opts for it. However, I do not see any possibility of the government winning with a review petition,” he added.
Advocate Kamran Farooq said that the detailed judgement has laid bare the law which does not allow the prime minister or president to reappoint or give extension to the army chief. He said that the government is left with no choice but to move for amending the Army Act under which the government would add the provision of extension in services of the army chief.
Barrister Ali Zafar said that the detailed verdict is an elaboration of the short order of the apex court bench.
“There is no change in the detailed verdict. The court has said that there is no law which provides space for granting extension to the army chief. So, extension or reappointment without the backing of law is not possible. The court has said that the parliament may frame a law and failing to do so would render the reappointment null,” he added.
He said that it is now clear that there is no need for a constitutional amendment, but rather a simple legislation to amend the Army Act.
“Though the government has the required strength to amend the Army Act, I think they should amend ties with the opposition parties as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, speaking to Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami on Channel 92’s programme ‘Ho Kya Raha Hai?’, senior jurist Aitzaz Ahsan said that a larger bench should have been formed in this case.
He said that this issue should have been discussed in the court for at least 10 to 15 days. “The courts cannot dictate the parliament,” he added.
Speaking about the government’s future course of strategy, he said that numbers will determine whether the government succeeds in getting the legislation passed or not.