ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday deputed Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to rope in the opposition and the allied parties over issues relating the extension of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s office term and appointment of the chief election commissioner (CEC).
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the prime minister.
According to sources, the prime minister directed the attendees of the meeting to start the legislation process for the army chief’s extension within the complete time frame specified by the Supreme Court. He also tasked Khattak to meet leaders of the opposition parties to pave the way for the legislation in consultation with them.
Sources added, the prime minister also issued directives regarding the CEC’s appointment. The premier had said that no stone would be left unturned to make the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) an independent and autonomous body.
Last month, the apex court, took notice of a petition filed against the government’s move to extend General Bajwa’s tenure as army chief for another three years.
On November 28, the Supreme Court allowed the federal government to grant a six-month extension to COAS Bajwa and ordered the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government to bring necessary legislation within six months to decide the army chief’s tenure and other details related to his post.
Separately, Sardar Raza Muhammed Khan retired as the CEC on December 6, with senior ECP member from Punjab Justice (retired) Altaf Ibrahim taking up the post as acting CEC.
It is constitutionally binding on the government to appoint the CEC within 45 days. However, there is deadlock between the government and opposition over the issue of appointment of the CEC and two members. The opposition has also moved the apex court for the CEC’s appointment.
It is pertinent to mention here that three names each have been proposed by the government and the opposition for the positions of CEC and two ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan.
Khattak had said Sunday no talks had been held so far with the opposition parties on the constitutional amendments for the army chief’s extension in service. He said the government was waiting for the detailed judgment of the court on the case.