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P L D 2009 SC 879

Per Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, J–

Constitution of Pakistan(1973) Arts. 6, 245(1), 243(1), 244, 237, 238, 239 & Third Schedule—-

 53. On a plain reading of the provisions of Article 245(1), the functions of the Armed Forces can be bifurcated into two categories, namely, they shall (1) defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and (2) subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so. Under clause (1) of Article 243, the control and command of the Armed Forces is vested in the Federal Government, therefore, in the performance of both the categories of functions, the Armed Forces act under the directions of the Federal Government. Thus, the provisions of clause (1A) of Article 243 under which the supreme command of the Armed Forces vests in the President, does not, in any manner, derogate from the power of the Federal Government to require the Armed Forces to defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, or to act in aid of civil power in accordance with law. The Constitution does not envisage any situation where the Armed Forces may act without any direction by the Federal Government.

Thus, essentially, a proclamation requiring the aid of the Armed Forces must come from the civilian authorities and as soon as the necessity for the exercise of the military power is over, the civil administration must, of necessity, be restored, and assume its normal role. 54. In the cases of Dosso, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Zafar Ali Shah and Tikka Iqbal Muhammad Khan the Court did not take into consideration the above aspect of the matter and rendered judgments, not on the force of the constitutional provisions, but by recourse to the theory of revolutionary legality propounded by Hans Kelsen, the doctrine of civil and state necessity and the principle of salus populi est suprema lex, and thus kept open the gate for military intervention for all times to come. Let it be made clear that any action of the Armed Forces undertaken without a direction by the Federal Government shall be unconstitutional, illegal, void ab initio and consequently of no legal effect. Any member of the Armed Forces, including the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the three Services Chiefs, namely, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff, or any person acting under their authority, or on their behalf, who acts in the performance of either of his functions of defending Pakistan against external aggression, or of acting, subject to law, in aid of civil power without any direction by the Federal Government acts in violation of the Constitution and the law and does so at his own risk and cost. This Court, in Liaquat Hussain’s case (at page 626 of the report), has held that martial law cannot be imposed in Pakistan in view of the change in the language of Article 237 of the Constitution wherein the words “martial law” have been omitted, the legal effect of which is that the Parliament cannot make any law indemnifying any person in the service of the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, or any other person in respect of any act done in connection with the maintenance or restoration of order in any area in Pakistan. This change in the language of Article 237 of the Constitution was preceded by a discussion of the term ‘martial law’ in Asma Jilani’s case, a decision which was rendered only a year before the promulgation of the Constitution of 1973.

 Along with Article 237 as finally approved, the framers of the Constitution also legislated Article 6 of the Constitution, which provided that any person who abrogated or attempted or conspired to abrogate, subverted or attempted or conspired to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.

 In the above background, we affirm and approve the law laid down in Asma Jilani’s case that martial law in any form and by whatever name called, for any purpose whatsoever cannot be imposed in Pakistan. We also firmly lay down that no proclamation of emergency can be issued, the effect of which is to hold in abeyance the Constitution, or its subsequent mutilation by incorporating amendments in it by an authority not mentioned in the Constitution and in a manner not provided for in the Constitution.

 56. Each member of the Armed Forces, as per his oath under the Third Schedule to the Constitution in pursuance of Article 244, is bound to bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution which embodies the will of the people. He is also sworn not to engage himself in any political activities whatsoever. He also solemnly affirms and declares that he will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the Pakistan Army (or Navy or Air Force) as required by and under the law. The learned counsel for the petitioners vehemently contended that General Pervez Musharraf, by his actions of 3rd November, 2007, not only violated his oath as a member of the Armed Forces, but also overthrew the solemn pledge he made as President of Pakistan of performing his functions and discharging his duties honestly, to the best of his ability, faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and the law. We agree with the contention of the learned counsel that General Pervez Musharraf failed to abide by his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. The Constitution was framed to continue to be in force at all times. By Article 6, an in-built mechanism was provided to safeguard the Constitution from its abrogation or subversion by anyone, that is to say, it could neither be cancelled by anyone nor could it be overthrown or undermined by anyone in any manner or mode whatsoever. Thus, unless and until the Constitution is altered or amended in accordance with the procedure laid down in Articles 238 and 239, or it is repealed on the pattern of the Interim Constitution under the provisions of Article 266, which too, is possible by recourse to the provisions of Articles 238 and 239, its operation and enforceability cannot be interrupted even for a single day, nay a single moment except as specifically provided in the Constitution itself. The Constitution has not contemplated any situation where it can be held in abeyance at the will or whims of the Chief of Army Staff and to be revived after he has achieved his objectives. Let it be stated in unequivocal terms that the validity accorded in the past did not give a licence to any holder of the office of Chief of Army Staff of repeating such acts at his will. It is hereby firmly laid down that the holding in abeyance of the Constitution or any other act having the effect of discontinuing the operation and the enforceability of the Constitution for a single moment in a manner not authorized under the Constitution is nothing but an overthrowing of the Constitution, so to say, the subversion of the Constitution and thus constitutes the offence of high treason.

 Therefore, the military rule, direct or indirect, is to be shunned once and for all. Let it be made clear that it was wrongly justified in the past and it ought not to be justified in future on any ground, principle, doctrine or theory whatsoever. Military rule is against the dignity, honour and glory of the nation that it achieved after great sacrifices 62 years ago; it is against the dignity and honour of the people of Pakistan, who are committed to upholding the sovereignty and integrity of the nation by all means; and it is against the dignity and honour of each and every soldier of the Armed Forces: Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force, who is oath-bound to bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution, which embodies the will of the people; not to engage himself in any political activities whatsoever; and to honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the respective services. Within such parameters, a soldier must remain committed to defending Pakistan until the last drop of his blood against external aggression or threat of war, and subject to law, acting in aid of civil power when called upon to do so under the directions of the Federal Government. In the course of the discharge of his duties, a soldier, therefore, is obligated to seeing that the Constitution is upheld, it is not abrogated, it is not subverted, it is not mutilated, and to say the least, it is not held in abeyance and it is not amended by an authority not competent to do so under the Constitution. If a member of the Armed Forces acts in aid of a person who does any of the above acts, or any other similar act, he violates his oath and renders himself liable to action under and in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

 100. It may be mentioned that the power to amend the Constitution is an onerous task assigned to the Parliament, which represents the will of the people through their chosen representatives. It is to be carried out in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Articles 238 and 239 of the Constitution, viz. by a two-third majority of the members of both the Houses of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), and by no other means, in no other manner, and by no one else. The holding in abeyance of the Constitution in the first place, and then making amendments in it by one man by the stroke of his pen, that is to say, in a manner not envisaged or permitted by the Constitution, are mutilation and/or subversion of the Constitution simpliciter, and no sanctity is attached to such amendments per se. No sanctity attaches to them if they are made after a declaration to that effect is made by the Court while adjudging the validity of such assumption of power. Equally bereft of sanctity remain the amendments of any such authority, which are ratified, affirmed or adopted by the Parliament subsequently and deemed to have been made by the competent authority.

 In our view, only those acts which were required to be done for the ordinary orderly running of the State could be protected. Similarly, only such past and closed transactions could have been protected, which were otherwise not illegal at the relevant time, and rights, privileges, obligations or liabilities had been acquired, accrued or incurred, or any investigation, legal proceeding or remedy in respect of any such right, privilege, obligation, liability, penalty, forfeiture, or punishment had been taken. The actions taken by General Pervez Musharraf on 3rd November, 2007 and thereafter being unconstitutional, illegal and void ab initio, the principle of past and closed transaction was not attracted even otherwise on account of the distinguishing features between the martial laws of 1958 and 1977 and emergency of 1999 on the one hand, and the emergency of 3rd November, 2007 on the other, as explained in this judgment, including passing of order dated 3rd November, 2007 by a seven – member Bench of this Court in Wajihuddin Ahmed’s case, arrest of Judges, Judges not accepting it or applying for pension, sustained resistance in the shape of protests by the Bar Associations, masses, including civil society, political workers, students, labourers, large scale arrests of lawyers, resolution of foreign bars, etc.

 102. In the light of the above discussion, it is held and declared that the amendments purportedly made by General Pervez Musharraf from 3rd November, 2007 up till 15th December, 2007 (both days inclusive) were neither made by an authority mentioned in the Constitution nor the same were made following the procedure prescribed in the Constitution and were, therefore, unconstitutional, illegal and void ab initio. Accordingly, the Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 (President’s Order No. 5 of 2007), the Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, 2007 (President’s Order No. 6 of 2007) and PCO No. 1 of 2007 as also Oath Order, 2007, which were tantamount to amending Articles 238 & 239 and the Third Schedule to the Constitution (oath of office of Chief Justice/Judge) respectively, or any other instrument having similar effect are unconstitutional, illegal and ultra vires of the Constitution and consequently of no legal effect. [p 1027,1028, 1031, 1032, 1039, 1070]D, E, F, G, H, I, FF, GG

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