Contrary to earlier claims, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has reportedly decided to unconditionally back the amendments made to the Army Act by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to facilitate the extension service of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
According to Geo News, the decision was made after a meeting of PML-N parliamentary members received a message from the party leadership on Thursday, advising the party to fully back the amendment bill when it is tabled in the parliament by the government.
“The PML-N leadership reportedly does not want the position of COAS to become controversial, and has thus decided to support the PTI government in a bid to amend the Army Act under the directions of a verdict of the Supreme Court (SC) in this regard,” the report said.
A day earlier, the federal cabinet had in an emergency meeting accorded its approval to amendments to the Army Act under which the premier will be empowered to extend the tenure of all services chiefs.
The bill pertaining to the amendment will be tabled in the National Assembly on Friday and the amendment has been prepared as per the guidelines enumerated in the SC’s verdict.
The top court had in November 2019 told the government to legislate on an extension in the COAS’s services within six months, allowing Gen Bajwa to stay in office until then, after briefly suspending the notification of the extension in his tenure.
With the government going into action to ensure an extension for the army chief but lacking the numbers in the parliament for necessary legislation, the PML-N had earlier warned the PTI, saying it would not be easy if the hostile attitude of the Imran Khan-led government towards the opposition continued.