A bench of a Pakistani court that was to take up a petition challenging an extension granted to army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was dissolved today after the government did not issue a notification extending the tenure of the two judges hearing the case.
Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who were hearing the matter, were administered oath as additional judges for a year on November 21 last year.
Though their term ended on Tuesday, the government did not issue a notification to extend their tenure.
Officials said the bench stood dissolved and would be unable to hear the petition challenging the unprecedented three-year extension given to Kayani by the Pakistan People's Party-led government in 2010.
The judges were to hear the petition on November 22.
Col (retired) Inamur Rahim, who has challenging the legality of the extension, has contended that Kayani cannot hold the post of army chief as he had reached the age of retirement (60 years) on April 20.
The Judicial Commission headed by Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and a parliamentary panel that oversees judicial appointments had recommended that Justices Qureshi and Siddiqui be given a six-month extension.
Despite this, no notification was issued by the government, officials said.
Observers have suggested that the government's action was aimed at placating the army as Kayani has spoken out against moves to prosecute several retired generals for their role in financial scams and for meddling in politics.
Kayani recently issued a strongly worded statement that acknowledged past mistakes by members of the armed forces but said that no state institution should exceed its constitutional limits.
Though he did not name anyone, analysts concluded his remarks were aimed at the apex court.