PTI govt fears ‘irreparable loss’ if SC doesn’t order in-camera hearing

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The government has sought “in-camera hearing” of its review petition against the Supreme Court judgement of Nov 28 on the reappointment/extension of the chief of army staff (COAS).

The request was made in a separate “instant application” filed with the review petition in the apex court on Thursday, pleading that it would be in the interest of justice and also in the interest of national security that the case may be heard in-camera.

Listing the reasons, the petitioner prayed that “foreign hostile media is endeavouring to propel the narrative/misperception of internal institutional rift through misreporting on the proceedings of the case”.

It said that social media was being used to “mischievously project hostility” between the national security stakeholders.

Govt challenges SC verdict on army chief’s extension

“Since the issue is intrinsically linked to command of Army and has direct bearing over moral of troops, security and defence of Pakistan, therefore, given the situation on LoC [Line of Control] and development linked to Western Borders, its debate over media and projection has potential to undermine moral of troops, national security and defence of Pakistan,” reads the petition.

The petitioner states that the court proceedings are being followed by talk shows, articles and analysis over social, electronic and print media at domestic as well as at global level thereby, affording space for undermining the state institutions.

It also fears that if the in-camera hearing is not ordered, then government may suffer an “irreparable loss”.

In yet another application, also filed with the review petition, the government has sought the suspension of the Nov 28 Supreme Court verdict in the COAS extension case.

“It is respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may kindly be pleased to accept this application and suspend/stay the operation of the Impugned Judgement dated 28-11-2019, in the interest of justice,” reads the petition.