Pak court seeks govt response to petition on Kayani term

The petition challenges 3-year extension granted to Army Chief Gen Kayani.

Peshawar: A Pakistani court on Thursday sought the government`s response to a petition challenging the three-year extension granted to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

A two-judge division bench of the Peshawar High Court issued a notice to the Deputy Attorney General to provide the government`s stand on the issue to the court.

The notice was issued in response to a petition filed by journalist-cum-lawyer Shahid Orakzai on July 22.

Orakzai has contended that the extension granted to Kayani last month violated constitutional provisions.

During today`s proceedings, Orakzai told the court that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had granted the extension to Kayani after consulting President Asif Ali Zardari.

He argued that after the passage of the 18th Constitutional amendment, the Prime Minister was not bound to consult the President on giving extension to the Army chief.

He asked the court to declare the extension as "ultra vires of the Constitution”.

Following the 18th amendment, the Prime Minister is only required to "keep the President informed on all matters of internal and foreign policy”.

Thus, there is no room for any consultation between the President and the Prime Minister, he argued.

Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, a member of the bench, observed that the High Court has no power to hear cases involving the Army.

Moreover, the notification for the extension was issued from Rawalpindi and did not fall within the purview of the Peshwar High Court, he said.

However, Orakzai said the Peshawar High Court has the jurisdiction to intervene in such cases and there are lots of examples in this regard.

The Defence Ministry issued the notification but the High Court has the power to hear cases related to the armed forces, he said.

The court then issued a notice to the Deputy Attorney General to ascertain the government`s stand on the subject.

Orakzai also claimed that the three-year extension for the Army chief is questionable as it could adversely affect discipline among the armed forces.

As interim relief, the High Court should protect the discipline of the armed forces and request the President to reconsider his advice for granting an extension to the Army chief, he said.


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