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Lahore: The Lahore High Court dismissed a petition seeking the appointment of the next army chief on a “seniority basis”, Geo News reported.

It is pertinent to mention that incumbent Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure is set to end on November 29 and Pakistan’s military will get a new Army chief later this month.

The petition submitted by Advocate Najma Ahmed prayed that the court directs the respondents to appoint the senior-most person as the next army chief,Geo News reported.

Lieutenant-Generals Asim Munir, the army’s quartermaster general and a former spy chief, Sahir Shamshad, commander of the Rawalpindi Corps, Azhar Abbas, the army’s chief of general staff, and Nauman Mahmood, chief of the National Defence University are the frontrunners to replace Bajwa.

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 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.

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,Geo News reported.

However, the court observed that such a matter should be heard by a full court and suggested the petitioner approach 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.

Prior to this Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif while addressing a press conference last month that anyone amongst five army personnel recommended by the Defence Ministry appointed as the new Army Chief and all three-star generals are eligible for the role.

The appointment of the next army chief has become a major issue and has taken the centre stage in the country’s politics,Geo News reported.

Earlier, Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan during his long march rally said “It is impossible to imagine that a convicted and fugitive person will now take important decisions in Pakistan,”. He also claimed that Shabaz has violated the country’s Official Secrecy Act by consulting his elder brother Nawaz Sharif in the appointment of the next army chief.

“How can the PM consult a fugitive [Nawaz] on a chief of army staff’s appointment,” he was quoted as saying by The News International while referring to Shehbaz’s recent visit to London. “It is impossible to imagine that a convicted and fugitive person will now take important decisions in Pakistan,” he said adding that the court of law would be moved against violation of the Secrecy Act.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan took a sharp dig at Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa over the arrest of Senator Azam Swati who blamed the general for legitimising corruption in the country.

Time and again, PTI chief Imran Khan and his party have openly bashed the military leadership in the country since they were ousted from power in April, leaving no chance for any negotiations with the security establishment, which is why the Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has clarified on various instances that he has distanced the military from the country’s politics, according to Islam Khabar.

Despite his controversial ousting in April this year, Khan continues to remain the most popular political leader in Pakistan. Moreover, PTI has won in the recently held by-elections in different parts of the country, especially in Punjab province.

However, another major issue for Khan taking a sharp dig at Pakistan Army is Azam Khan Swati’s arrest. In August this year, Shahbaz Gill, senior PTI leader and close aide of Imran Khan, was arrested for sedition and other charges for remarks made during a TV show.

Notably, direct clashes between Khan and the security establishment will create more

As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) continues to engage in a showdown with all quarters of the country’s establishment, party chief Imran Khan earlier said that it does not matter to him who becomes the next army chief of the country after the retirement of General Qamar Javed Bajwa later this month, if the decision is taken on merit.

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