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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Military subordinate to civilian Government: CJP

ISLAMABAD, April 16 : Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has stated that military is subordinate to civilian government and that constitution does not allow armed forces to indulge in politics and required to serve honestly and faithfully to Pakistan.

"A Government elected by the Constitution can only perform its functions and ensure observance of the provisions of the constitution by making the civil power superior to and not subordinate to the armed forces during peace and war" the Chief Justice observed while addressing the faculty members of the Command and Staff College Quetta on Saturday.

The Chief Justice further stated; "the prime duty of defending Pakistan against any external aggression or threat of war lies upon the armed forces and likewise the prime duty of defending the supremacy of the constitution lies upon the Supreme Court of Pakistan".

The Chief Justice said every member of the armed forces, according to the oath, is bound to bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the constitution which embodies the will of the people. He said a conscious efforts was made by the framers of the 1973 constitution to clearly
delineate role for the armed forces, responsible for its defence, security and to safeguard the constitution from any adventurism. He referred to article 245 of the constitution which he said envisages that the armed forces shall, under the directions of the Federal Government defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war and subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so.

Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said the armed forces of Pakistan play a key role in guarding the national frontiers and securing its borders. He said the defence forces are a very important organization and heavy responsibility rests on their shoulders.

"The nation looks forward to its defence forces for protection and security in the event of foreign aggression or threat of invasion" he said at the outset of his address.

He said it was heartening that the morale and spirit of the Pakistani armed forces was high and every officer and jawan was working as a committed defender of national frontiers with the backing of the entire nation.

He referred to the address by the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah at Staff College in Quetta in 1948 and said it was an effort to apprise the officers of their adherence to the constitution and obeying the superior authority in the chain of command.

The Chief Justice said the history of Pakistan reflects recurring conflict between the underdeveloped political system and well organized army. He said when there were political crises, the country witnessed military intervention followed by military rule. Thus, he said there emerged a vicious circle of brief political dispensation followed by prolonged military rule. He said this state of affairs brought many setbacks and hampered the process of evolution of constitutionalism and democratic system of governance.

The Chief Justice said military intervention in the political process weakened democratic institutions and impacted adversely on the constitutional and legal development in the country. He said the democratically elected governments never truly consolidated democratic institutions. He said neither they were able to enforce good governance, economic progress or the culture of rule of law in the country. Thus the primacy of unelected institutions over representative organs left Parliament weak and subservient to the executive. He said parliamentary subordination to a powerful executive had its roots in the weak political framework in early years of Pakistan.

Mr Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry highly lauded the role of armed forces in times of natural calamities saying they played commendable role in the rescue and relief operations which have been admired at every forum whether it was the devastating earthquake in Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad in 2005 or the recent flood catastrophe. He said such magnitude of relief operations could only be undertaken by our organized and discipline forces.

He said the Armed Forces also successfully maintained the writ of the Government in different parts of the country sacrificing precious lives of many officers and Jawans to restore normalcy and maintain peace.

He said Pakistan armed forces also served under the flag of the UN in different countries for peace and stability and these services earned a great respect for our nation and were acknowledged by the leaders across the world including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The Chief Justice said Pakistan army has been regarded over the years as a highly disciplined and trained forces. Over the period of time, it gained the respect of the Pakistani people for its spirited defence of the country's borders but its dominance of the polity of Pakistan eventually produced public questioning of its role. He said the composition of Pakistan armed forces today better represents the society in which it operates.

"It is also professional and better trained than ever before. It expands its membership into less represented areas" the CJP remarked.

He expressed the confidence that keeping in view the role of the defence forces in the past against external aggression, they will live up to their traditions whenever called upon to defend their motherland.

Concluding his address Mr Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry said welfare of the people must be the supreme consideration of all institutions and all functionaries of the State. However in achieving this grand objective, we must make consistent efforts by remaining our allotted sphere, to realize the same, he emphasized. He said in adherence to constitutionalism and legal
principles lies our salvation and future development as a civilized nation.

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