General Bajwa's extension case: PTI presses with the opposition parties to amend the Army Law

ISLAMABAD (PAKISTAN): The government led by (PTI) on Thursday approached members of opposition parties to obtain support to make amendments to the Army Law and the Constitution in order to grant a three-year extension to the Chief of the Army General Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The measure comes a day after the proposed amendments were rushed through the Cabinet, which unanimously granted approval for the changes, both in the Constitution and in the Army Law, Dawn reported.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan in November last year had ordered the government to eliminate ambiguity in the rules on the issue of extension in the tenure of the head of the army.

A delegation of PTI lawmakers, including Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Ali Muhammad Khan and Qasim Suri, met with PPP leaders, including the party president. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari early tonight

According to the sources, the PPP secured its support for the amendments, but expressed concern that the details of the amendments had not been shared with opposition lawmakers.

Bilawal during the meeting pressed for the government to follow parliamentary rules and regulations regarding amendments in the Army Law, party sources added.

Earlier in the day, a delegation of PTI lawmakers, including Khattak Defense Minister, Senate Leader of the Senate Shibli Faraz and Senator Azam Swati, met with the leaders of PML-N, where the latter secured his Support for the proposed amendments. The PML-N delegation was composed of Khawaja Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Tanvir, among others.

PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan told reporters that the party leaders in London gave their approval to support the amendments by consensus.

The government is likely to present the draft amendment in parliament on Friday after reaching a consensus with the opposition on the matter.

The government needs the support of the opposition parties to make the amendments, since any amendment to the Constitution must be approved by at least two thirds of the members of each House: the National Assembly and the Senate.

According to a copy of the bill of amendment, the government plans to make amendments to Sections 8, 176 and 176A of the Pakistan Army Law, 1952. A chapter on the appointment of the head of the army and the chairman of the Joint Committee of Chiefs of Staff will also be added to the Law.