Minister seeks opposition’s help to resolve COAS extension, NAB issues
According to Fawad Chaudhry, a minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the issue of extending the tenure of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa should be resolved with political party consensus.
“The army chief doesn’t belong to any single political party, but to all,” said Chaudhry in an interview.
The federal government has attempted to sit down with the opposition parties to discuss issues related to the extension of the term of General Bajwa. Nevertheless, because of pending corruption cases against its members, the opposition has so far held the ruling party at a distance.
PM Khan had appointed the current COAS for another term of three years on August 19, 2019. The president then granted him the extension.
The extension was challenged in the Supreme Court in November. The top court had allowed the government to grant General Bajwa extension for another six months on November 28 but it added that the parliament will have to amend or make new laws to give the army chief extension for three years.
The laws do not even authorize the country’s chief executive to offer an extension to a serving officer in his term, according to the judgement.
On December 26, the federal government filed a review petition against the top court’s verdict.
The army chief’s extension is not the only issue that the government needs to resolve. It also wants to amend the NAB laws and it can’t do that without a consensus in the parliament.
The extension of the army chief is not the only issue to be resolved by the government. It also wants to change the laws of the NAB, and without agreement in the parliament, it can not do that.
“The opposition should cooperate [with us] in amending the NAB’s laws,” Chaudhry said.
The federal cabinet approved on Friday the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 that restricts NAB from taking action over corruption worth less than Rs500 million.
The step drew criticism from the opposition, alleging that the Prime Minister was trying “to help his mates.”
Chaudhry blamed the opposition parties for expressing concerns about the current NAB rules, while opposing the efforts of the government to implement reforms.
The minister said that reforms were necessary so that people could not blame the institutions responsible for accountability.
When asked about his expectations in 2020, the federal minister admitted that the new year began with mistrust between two key state institutions: the military and the judiciary.
The federal minister acknowledged when asked about his aspirations in 2020 that the new year started with mistrust between two key state institutions: the military and the judiciary.
“It’s not because of what has happened in the last six to eight months,” said Chaudhry, referring to a special court’s verdict sentencing former military dictator Pervez Musharraf to death for high treason.
There has been unrest in the judiciary since Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry’s former chief justice was restored in 2007, he added.
The minister also urged the media to play their role in bringing the institutions closer together.