Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he has not yet thought about an extension to Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure as there is still time for his term to end, according to a media report on Friday. Talking about the contentious issue of the extension in Bajwa’s tenure, Prime Minister Khan said that he enjoyed an unprecedented relationship with the military leadership, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The current year has just started and November is far away. Then why there is worry about extension in the tenure of the army chief, the prime minister was quoted as saying in the report. Khan said that he had so far not thought about extension in the tenure of COAS Bajwa.
The 61-year-old will serve the post of Army chief till November 28, 2022. Bajwa, a close confidant of Khan, was to retire on November 29, 2019 at the end of his three-year original term but Prime Minister Khan gave the Army chief another extension of same length, citing regional security situation, through a notification.
However, the Supreme Court on November 28 suspended the government order, observing that there is no law to give extension to the Army chief’s tenure. But the apex court granted a six-month extension to Gen Bajwa after being assured by the government that Parliament will pass a legislation on the extension/reappointment of an army chief within six months. The government after initial hesitation secured the support of the main Opposition parties and introduced three bills in the National Assembly to extend the retirement age from 60 to 64 years for the chiefs of army, navy and air force, and the chairman of the joint chief of staff committee.
Speaking about the rumours of a possible deal between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the military to topple his government, Khan said he personally was not under any kind of pressure. The cricketer-turned politician said that he enjoyed the support of allies and expressed confidence that his government would complete its mandated five years till 2023, the report said.