Wednesday February 01, 2023

Why president on Sept 12 said he had not received extension summary?

November 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the president had approved the summary for extension of General Qamar Javed Bajwa on 19th August but Dr Arif Alvi in a TV interview on 12th September said he had not received the advice by then.

According to the official record placed before the SC, as envisaged in the apex court’s order, President Arif Alvi approved the summary seeking extension of Army Chief on 19th August 2019. However, in television interview, dated Sept 12, the president stated that had not received summary for General Bajwa’s extension. The interview was televised on 12th of September. To a question about Army Chief’s extension, the president stated on Sept 12 that he had not received by then summary for General Bajwa’s extension.

If the president did not receive extension summary till Sept 12 as he has already stated in the TV interview, how can now it be stated by the government before the Supreme Court that the summary for General Bajwa’s extension was approved by the president on 19th August.

On this particular issue, the Supreme Court’s order suspending the notification for the Army Chief’s extension says, “In the case in hand the prime minister had himself passed an order appointing the current Chief of the Army Staff for a second term in that office on 19.08.2019 whereas under Article 243 of the Constitution it is the president who is the appointing authority for that office. Apparently that mistake came to notice straightaway and on the same day, i.e. 19.08.2019 a summary was moved from the Prime Minister’s Office to the president for extension/re-appointment of the incumbent Chief of the Army Staff and on that very day, i.e. 19.08.2019 the president was pleased to approve the summary in that regard and, hence, the advice of the prime minister was apparently accepted and acted upon. It appears that even that process was found to be flawed and on that very day it was realised that the prime minister or the president could not take the above mentioned actions without the approval of the cabinet and, thus, on the next day, i.e. 20.08.2019 a summary was moved in the relevant regard for approval of the cabinet and on 21.08.2019 the cabinet was said to have approved the said proposal through circulation. The opinion of the cabinet recorded in this regard, photocopies whereof have been produced before us, shows that there are 25 members of the cabinet and out of those 25 members only 11 had agreed to the proposal which shows that the majority of the cabinet had not approved the said proposal. Yet another peculiar aspect is that after the purported or so-called approval of the cabinet regarding extension/re-appointment of the incumbent Chief of the Army Staff the matter was never sent to the prime minister or the president again for the purposes of a fresh advice or a fresh order of the prime minister and the president respectively.”