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3 Things That Change After The Amendments To the Army Act

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The PTI-led government, with the support of major opposition parties, is proceeding with a piece of legislation known as the “Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2020”.

The purpose of this legislative effort is to be able to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to do away with ambiguity in the rules that govern the extension of the Army Chief’s tenure in service. The government had been required to make appropriate amendments to the Constitution and the Army Act, to enable it to proceed with granting a three-year extension to Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The government will bring the amendment bill into Parliament on Friday, the 3rd of January 2019, after achieving consensus with the opposition.

The main changes proposed by the government are to Sections 8 and 176 of the Army Act, 1952.

They will have the following effect:

  1. The process is clarified. The President, on the advice of the Prime Minister, can grant an extension of up to 3 years on grounds of national security.
  2. Such extensions can no longer be challenged in courts. The appointment, reappointment or extension “shall not be called into question before any court on any ground whatsoever.”
  3. The government will make the rules. When it comes to carrying into effect the provisions of the Army Act, the government will not only decide about retirement, release, discharge, removal or dismissal from the service but also the appointment, reappointment and extension for all serving persons who are subject to the Act – including the COAS.

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Naya Daur