The Senate passed the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2020, paving the way for the end of Qamar Javed Bajwa’s term.
Senate President Sadiq Sanjrani asked senators to vote on the bill, which was passed unanimously. The president’s approval will become a law.
The bill set the retirement age of the director of services at 64, and the National Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday after more than two-thirds of its members voted in favor.
Here are the recommendations of the new law:
1. Previous laws did not set any retirement age limits for the chiefs of the army, navy and air forces, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. It is now set at 64 years. No older person may hold this position.
2. It also allows the President to reappoint or extend the term of office of all Chiefs of Staff and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
3. The bill states that no court will challenge the “designated agency’s exercise of discretion” in this regard “for any reason.”
4. If the law is passed, it will be deemed to have entered into force on November 27, 2019, not the day it was passed.
Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed the current COAS on August 19, 2019 for a three-year term. The president subsequently approved his extension.
The extension was then challenged on the grounds that the extension violated Article 243 (4) (b) of the Constitution. The case was initially filed by the Jurists Foundation, but the Supreme Court decided to resolve it on its own after demanding its withdrawal.
At the hearing, the court explored the scope of application of Article 243 of the Constitution and the Pakistan Army Act of 1952.
On November 28, the court extended the term of office of Chief of Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa for six months until May, and ordered the government to enact laws to regulate such appointments. A detailed verdict was issued on December 16.
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