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Pak court dismisses petition seeking appointment of Army chief on "seniority basis"

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Lahore, Nov 16: A top Pakistani court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking the appointment of the new Army chief on a ''seniority basis''. The petition by Advocate Najma Ahmed was dismissed by the Lahore High Court after its hearing on Wednesday.

''The judge dismissed the petition observing that the petitioner is not an affected person,'' a court official told PTI.

Incumbent Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

Incumbent Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa's tenure is set to end on November 29.

Earlier, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party had indicated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif might appoint the new Pakistan Army chief on the basis of seniority.

Lt Gen Asim Munir, who tops the seniority list, is perceived to be the London-based PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif's pick for the post.

Prime Minister Shehbaz has insisted that the appointment will be made on ''merit.'' Ahmed, the petitioner, said that the procedure of the army chief's appointment was unlawful and unconstitutional.

She added that the Chief Justice of Pakistan and all high court judges are appointed on the basis of seniority but the same principle was ignored in the selection of the Chief of Army Staff.

"It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed to direct the respondents to appoint the senior-most person as army chief," she said.

According to Article 243(3) of the Pakistani Constitution, the president appoints the Services' Chief on the recommendation of the prime minister.

The General Headquarters (GHQ) sends a list of the four to five senior-most lieutenant generals, along with their personnel files, to the Ministry of Defence, which then forwards them to the prime minister to pick the officer he finds best suited to the role.

According to Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, the GHQ may send the summary to the Defence ministry later this week.

Ousted Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman, Imran Khan has previously slammed Shehbaz and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz and questioned how the Prime Minister could consult with "a convict" on the appointment of the new Army chief, a violation of the Official Secrets Act.

Nawaz was in jail serving a term for conviction in a corruption case when he was allowed by the court to leave the country for London in 2019 for medical treatment.

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