Friday December 09, 2022

Army chief’s appointment: President’s consultations against Constitution

Aiwan-e-Sadr did not offer any comments on Imran Khan’s claim of maintaining contacts with president on matter

November 24, 2022
President Arif Alvi. — AFP/File
President Arif Alvi. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Consulting anyone by President Arif Alvi before approving a summary regarding the appointment of new army chief would be contrary to the Constitution and its spirit, as he has no authority to reject any advice from the prime minister, experts of Constitutional law said here.

The Aiwan-e-Sadr did not offer any comments on Imran Khan’s claim of maintaining contacts with the president on the matter. Former president Supreme Court Bar Association Senator Kamran Murtaza said that on all the issues where the president is bound by PM’s advice, he has no option to consult any person, what to talk of a person who had been involved in corrupt practices. The senator told The News on Wednesday that the president could hold an advice, given by the PM, but could not reject it in any way. He cited the constitutional provisions and Army Act’s Section 8 which regulates the appointment.

Meanwhile, sources said if President Arif Alvi opted to consult PTI Chairman Imran Khan and tried to block the advice for even one day, it could land him serious trouble, as already warned by PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Alvi ventured to dissolve the National Assembly in April this year contrary to provisions of the Constitution and his action was viewed by the superior judiciary as a defiance of Constitution. The orders in this regard were set aside by the apex court. The government, sources said took no legal action against the president on violation of constitutional provisions. “But this time, it would not be allowed to happen,” the sources said. The president is supposed to stay above political divide and cannot seek guidance from his party head.

However, in case president chooses party over national interest the federal cabinet could consider bringing about some simple changes in the relevant rules in the relevant laws to facilitate immediate enforcement of the decisions/ advice of the prime minister. Sources said the planned changes in the rules, which would be authenticated by the federal cabinet on Thursday (today). Likewise, the change of the command would be executed upon the date already designated by the PM in the summary, the sources added. It would thwart designs of the PTI and Imran Khan to scuttle the legitimate decisions of the incumbent government.

Sources also referred to Constitution’s Article 48 that deals with the powers of the president and it says, “President to act on advice, etc. [48. (1) In the exercise of his functions, the President shall act [on and] in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet [or the Prime Minister]:

[Provided that (within 15 days), the President may require the cabinet or, as the case may be, the prime minister to reconsider such advice, either generally or otherwise, and the president shall (within 10 days) act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.]

Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (1), the president shall act in his discretion in respect of any matter in respect of which he is empowered by the Constitution to do so [and the validity of anything done by the president in his discretion shall not be called in question on any ground whatsoever]. The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered to the president by the cabinet, the prime minister, a minister or minister of state shall not be inquired into in, or by, any court, tribunal or other authority.” The Aiwan-e-Sadr was approached by this scribe on Wednesday evening to find out about president’s reaction to Imran Khan’s assertion, but it did not respond to the query.


    wajahat commented 2 weeks ago

    yes, but consulting MNS is enshrined in law apparently.

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