- Petitioner terms traditional procedure for appointing COAS unconstitutional.
- Court observes such matter should be heard by a full court.
- Suggests petitioner approach Supreme Court for his request.
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday turned down a plea seeking appointment of the army chief on the basis of seniority and declared it inadmissible, The News reported.
The petition submitted by Advocate Najma Ahmed prayed that the court direct the respondents to appoint the senior-most person as the next army chief.
The petitioner maintained in the plea that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa is retiring on November 29. Keeping the tradition in view, the names of five generals recommended by the Ministry of Defence for the appointment of the army chief are considered for the appointment of the new COAS.
The petitioner stated that according to the rules of business, the prime minister has been given the discretionary power to make one of the five military officials as the army chief.
Referring to Article 243 (4b) of the Constitution which lays down the procedure for the appointment of Chief of Army Staff, the petitioner claimed that the traditional procedure for appointing the new army chief is in conflict with Article 25 of the Constitution, and is illegal and unconstitutional.
The federal government, he said is bound to appoint the new army chief in accordance with the law. The petitioner implored the court to issue directions to appoint the senior-most officer as the army chief.
The petitioner said that senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan has also expressed reservations over the appointment of the army chief through the traditional procedure.
However, the court observed that such a matter should be heard by a full court and suggested the petitioner approached the Supreme Court.
It may be noted that after crucial meetings between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in London, it was decided that the military’s senior-most officer will be appointed as the next army chief.
PM Shehbaz told journalists after the meeting that the army chief’s appointment is a constitutional matter and would decide in line with the constitution.
Moreover, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in a press conference last month that anyone from among the five nominated names could be appointed as the next chief of army staff.
Replying to a query regarding the appointment of the army chief on the basis of seniority, the defence minister said: “All three-star generals are eligible for this.”