UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Pakistan’s Supreme Court will decide on Thursday whether to force the army chief to retire, an unprecedented challenge to the military, the country’s most powerful institution.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa has been in the post for three years at the institution, which has the highest authority in the country, and in August Prime Minister Imran Khan asked him to extend his term for another three years.
The Pakistani army has long played a major role in national life. He has ruled the country for nearly half of its 72-year history, and more than one army commander has passed their terms.
But this time, the Supreme Court raises questions about the legitimacy of the decision, an unexpected move shocked Pakistan, which used to the army to do what it wants without objection.
The court held hearings this week. It said on Thursday it would issue its decision in the afternoon, ahead of the deadline for Bajwa’s mandate to end at midnight.
This is damaging to the Khan administration, which is close to the army chief.
Bajwa was appointed in 2016 to succeed General Raheel Sharif, who was popular and won the hearts of millions in his battle against the Islamists.
Since taking office, Bajwa has faced criticism for cracking down on civil society and has been accused of helping Khan win the 2018 election.
The government is facing growing anger amid economic woes after decades of corruption and mismanagement.
If the army chief is forced to retire, it will raise new questions about Khan’s ability to remain in the country where no prime minister has completed his term.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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