The Shehbaz Sharif-led government is looking into amending the Pakistan Army Act 1952 to allow the prime minister to retain military men following notification in place of set process, according to a Dawn report by Riazul Haq.
The development comes at a time when the military is set to undergo a change of command following the retirement of incumbent COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Lieutenant General Asim Munir, often cited as a chief contender for the army post, is due to retire before Bajwa.
The proposed amendment is expected to be presented before Parliament after being green-lighted by the pertinent Cabinet Committee. The tweak had secured the assent of the defence ministry earlier in October.
“The (Federal Government) may make rules for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this act… Without prejudice to the generality of the power conferred by subsection (1), such rules may provide for the appointment, reappointment or extension, retirement, release, discharge, removal or dismissal from the service of persons subject to this Act, including the Chief of the Army Staff and / or the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee,” the relevant clause reads at present.
The tweak envisages the insertion of retention after reappointment in the clause. Resignation, it seeks to follow after release.
The development, according to the newspaper-of-record, carries great significance given the prevailing scenario premised on the force command slated for handover.
The prime minister, a legal expert told Dawn, will stand enabled to allow the incumbent COAS or any senior military functionary due to retire to continue till further directives were handed down in wake of the amendment’s passage.