In setback to Imran Khan, Pak top court cuts Army Chief Bajwa’s extension to 6 months

Updated on Nov 28, 2019 04:52 PM IST
Army Chief Bajwa, whose original three-year tenure was set to expire on Thursday at midnight, can now continue as the Army chief for another six months.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Pakistan’s top court on Thursday cut short Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s three-year extension to six months and told the Imran Khan government to get parliamentary approval to make changes to the army chief’s tenure.

“We leave this matter to parliament to make law regarding this,” Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who led a three-judge bench ordered, according to news agency Reuters. Earlier this week, the top court had blocked the government’s order extending General Bajwa’s tenure in the top army post citing a series of irregularities.

The Supreme Court’s intervention has been a setback to Prime Minister Imran Khan who had, during the peak of its shrill campaign against India over Kashmir’s scrapped special status, extended General Bajwa’s tenure by three years.

Imran Khan had attributed his decision to continue Gen Bajwa to the “regional security environment”.

It was a thinly-veiled reference to tension with India, much of it driven by Imran Khan’s belligerent statements after New Delhi carved J&K into two union territories. Khan had even claimed to have information that New Delhi intended to carry out some big action, in his words, “more sinister” than the Balakot air strikes.

Indian security officials had seen the extension to use Kashmir to serve personal interests. It was also pointed out that Bajwa’s extension would alter the line of succession.

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