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Pak media blames Imran Khan government for "inept" handling of Gen Bajwa's extension case

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Prominent Pakistani newspapers on Friday censured Prime Minister Imran Khan's government for its "inept" handling of the sensitive case of extending the term of the powerful Army chief and cautioned him that the confidence of the people in his administration stands at an "all-time low".

The Supreme Court gave General Qamar Javed Bajwa a reprieve on Thursday and allowed him to continue as the Chief of the Army Staff for six more months after posing tough questions to the government about the most powerful institution in the coup-prone country.

Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who headed a three-member bench, announced the landmark verdict after getting an assurance from the government that Parliament will pass a legislation on the extension/ reappointment of an Army chief within six months.

After three days of high drama, the system found a solution and a potential impasse was averted, Dawn newspaper said in a scathing editorial.

The verdict was announced after the government submitted a new "summary" to extend the service of 59-year-old Gen Bajwa. The ruling came in the nick of time as Gen Bajwa was set to retire at midnight Thursday.

"The court order has helped the government come out of the corner it had painted itself into by its inept handling of the issue. The government is chiefly to blame for this needless confusion and controversy over a sensitive matter," it commented on the Khan-led government that has been in office for over one year now.

"It is therefore disappointing to note the prime minister's tweets blaming foreign enemies and domestic "mafia" whereas the real culprit is the government's own legal team that was unable to write a notification that could withstand judicial scrutiny," the editorial said.

Given the central role played by army chiefs in Pakistan, and their crucial position within the state structure, Parliament must come up with legislation that stands the test of time, it said.

"The sheer incompetence of the government and the mistakes it made, like racing through the original notification and appearing unclear about the provisions of the Army Act and Army Rules, did not help win it much credibility," an editorial in The International said.

"In an environment in which we as citizens have learned to accept without question all decisions, particularly when it comes to powerful institutions, this case acquires historic significance," it noted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 29 2019. 17:25 IST