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Overview of Article 245 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, approved in 1973, serves as the primary legal document that guides Pakistani society’s principles, powers, and responsibilities. Article 245 plays an essential role within this legal document by outlining Armed Forces functions and capabilities within Pakistani society.
Article 245 States
245. Functions of Armed Forces
- 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.
- The validity of any direction issued by the Federal Government under clause (1) shall not be called in question in any court.
- A High Court shall not exercise any jurisdiction under Article 199 in relation to any area in which the Armed Forces of Pakistan are, for the time being, acting in aid of civil power in pursuance of Article 245:
Provided that this clause shall not be deemed to affect the jurisdiction of the High Court in respect of any proceeding pending immediately before the day on which the Armed Forces start acting in aid of civil power.
- Any proceeding in relation to an area referred to in clause (3) instituted on or after the day the Armed Forces start acting in aid of civil power and pending in any High Court shall remain suspended for the period during which the Armed Forces are so acting.
Key Points of Article 245 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Defense against External Aggression: According to Article 245, Pakistan Armed Forces’ main function is the defense of Pakistan from external threats or war-like outbreak, underscoring their importance for upholding nationhood and safeguarding sovereignty.
- Aid of Civil Power: The provision granting the Armed Forces the authority to act in aid of civil power highlights their role in maintaining internal order. This becomes especially relevant during times of crises or when civil authorities require assistance in managing emergencies.
- Legal Immunity of Federal Government’s Directions: Article 245 solidifies the authority of the Federal Government in directing the actions of the Armed Forces. The legal immunity clause shields the validity of these directions from being challenged in any court, emphasizing the supremacy of the government in military matters.
- Jurisdiction of High Courts: An intriguing aspect of Article 245 is its impact on the jurisdiction of High Courts. While the Armed Forces are engaged in aiding civil power in a specific area, High Courts are restrained from exercising their jurisdiction under Article 199. This provision ensures a clear demarcation of powers between the military and the judiciary during such interventions.
- Suspension of Legal Proceedings: Another noteworthy facet of Article 245 is the suspension of legal proceedings in High Courts related to areas where the Armed Forces are acting in aid of civil power. This temporary suspension reflects the constitutional priority given to the military in restoring and maintaining order during emergencies.
Crux of Article 245 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The crux of Article 245 lies in the careful balance it seeks to establish between empowering the Armed Forces to fulfill their critical roles in both national defense and internal security, and safeguarding against potential misuse of military authority. By giving legal immunity to the Federal Government’s directions, the article emphasizes the importance of a centralized decision-making process in matters involving the deployment of the military.
Moreover, the restriction on the jurisdiction of High Courts during military interventions underscores the need for a focused and uninterrupted execution of the Armed Forces’ duties. The suspension of legal proceedings in such circumstances is a temporary measure aimed at ensuring that the military can act swiftly and effectively to address the situation at hand.
Conclusion: Article 245 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 245 of the Constitution of Pakistan encapsulates the nation’s commitment to maintaining a secure and orderly environment. By delineating the functions and powers of the Armed Forces, the article provides a legal framework that acknowledges the dual nature of contemporary challenges.
As Pakistan evolves in the 21st century, Article 245 remains a testament to the constitutional foresight that sought to strike a delicate balance between national defense and civil order. Its provisions, though subject to interpretation and critique, embody the nation’s quest for a robust yet responsible Armed Forces in the service of a secure and democratic Pakistan.