Islamabad: The extension in service given to Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been challenged by a retired army officer in the Islamabad High Court.
Col (retired) Inam-ur-Rahim, the convenor of the Ex-Servicemen Legal Forum, said in a petition filed in the high court that the forum was of the opinion that the extension was "immoral and unconstitutional". He asked the court to set aside the extension and send Kayani home.
Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman directed Rahim on Tuesday to show how he had been affected by the government's decision to give Kayani an extension and to submit copies of relevant documents annexed with the petition.
The judge then adjourned the matter.
Rahim contended that there is no provision in the Pakistan Army Act of 1956 and relevant rules whereby an extension of complete tenure can be granted to any person subject to the Army Act.
The ex-servicemen's society, which represents hundreds of thousands of former military personnel, had expressed concern at extensions given to uniformed officers because it would adversely affect the entire chain of command.
Kayani was given an unprecedented three-year extension by the government in July 2010. He is set to retire next year though he attained the age of superannuation (60 years) on 20 April this year.
As per the army list, the date of birth of General Kayani is 20 April 1952, Rahim said, adding that under the Army Act, nobody is permitted to remain in uniform after the age of 60.
Rahim noted that the Supreme Court had already observed on several occasions that the extension and re-employment of government employees blocked the path of other eligible candidates.
He said it was the natural desire of every officer who joined the army to reach the "optimum rank".
More than a dozen lieutenant generals will retire and cannot be considered to become the army chief because of the extension given to Kayani in violation of Article 9 of the Constitution.
Rahim further claimed Kayani had played a vital role in negotiations for a secret deal between former President Pervez Musharraf and slain former premier Benazir Bhutto in 2007.
He contended that the government led by Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party gave Kayani an extension to protect him for his role in the deal.