The Pak government forms a 3-member ministerial committee to draft a new law on the re-election of the army chief: report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan formed a committee of three members of key ministers on Monday to draft new legislation on the extension or re-election of the tenure of an army chief, according to a media report, days after the superior court granted a conditional extension of six months to the general holder.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, and Asad Omar's planning minister are part of the committee, The Express Tribune reported.

The committee was created after the Supreme Court gave the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan six months to legislate and eliminate gaps in the re-election or extension of the tenure of an army chief, allowing the holder, General Bajwa, to remain as chief of the Army General Staff (COAS) until a new law determines its terms of service.

Committee members will also discuss the new legislation with opposition parties in Parliament, according to the report.

The government (PTI), which faced a moment of anxiety in court about the issue during the hearing last week, is hopeful that the required law will be drafted within six months, according to the report.

During the historic hearings in the trial court, a three-member bank headed by the President of the Supreme Court, Asif Saeed Khosa, issued the verdict after Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan filed a pledge before the trial court of that Parliament would enact a new law on the matter for six months.

The ruling avoided a crisis when General Bajwa would retire at midnight Thursday as COAS. On Tuesday, the high court suspended a notice issued by Prime Minister Khan on August 19 for the re-election of General Bajwa for three years until 2022, citing procedural loopholes.

A brief order issued by the Supreme Court said that the current appointment of Gen Bajwa as COAS would be subject to the new legislation.

He also said that Gen Bajwa will continue as COAS for a period of six months, where after the new legislation he will determine his mandate and other terms and conditions of service.

The court noted that during the hearing on the extension of the head of the Army, the government continued to change its position, indistinctly referring to it as re-election, the limitation of retirement or the extension of tenure.

The Khan-led government has asked Parliament to review all existing laws related to the post of the head of the Army and is determined to gain support from opposition parties, according to the report.

Khan can also argue with the opposition party leaders, including Shahbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman among others, he said, adding that the federal government can also convene a conference of all parties to discuss the issue.