ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that the role of the Armed Forces has been clearly defined in Article 245 of the Constitution which 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. Addressing visiting officers of Command and Staff College, Quetta, the CJ said the history of Pakistan reflects recurring conflict between the underdeveloped political system and well organised Army . When there are political crises, he said we have witnessed military intervention followed by military rule. He said that the military intervention in the political process weakened democratic institutions. It also impacted adversely on the constitutional and legal development in the country, he added. He said the Supreme Court (SC) in its various judgments held that the solider and the citizen stand alike under the law. Both must obey the command of Constitution and show obedience to its mandate. The Armed Forces have to act within the scope of their jurisdiction as defined under the Constitution. The Government may call the Armed Forces subject to law to act in aid of civil power, he said. He said that a government elected by the constitution could 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. He said that this was the foundation stone of constitution of Pakistan as reflected in article 2A that sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is sacred trust and that the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people. Therefore, he added, the prime duty of defending Pakistan against any external aggression or threat of war lies upon the Armed Forces of Pakistan; likewise the prime duty of defending the supremacy of the Constitution lies upon the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He said that the defence forces were, a very important organisation and heavy responsibility rests on their shoulders. He further said that in the event of foreign aggression or threat of invasion, the nation looks forward to its defence forces for protection and security. It was encouraging to note that the morale and spirit of the Pakistani Armed Forces was high and it was very gratifying to note that every officer and Jawan is working as a committed defender of national frontiers, he said. The CJ said that the Supreme Court was the Apex Court of the land. It is the final arbiter of law and protector of the Constitution. The Supreme Court was established under 1956 Constitution, replacing the Federal Court. It is the Court of ultimate jurisdiction and all the courts sub-ordinate to it, follow its precedents, he said. He said that all the institutions including legislature, executive and judiciary, were the creation of the Constitution itself, which was the supreme law of the land, therefore it was incumbent upon them to work for the protection of this sacred document. Moreover, he said that the Constitution itself manifestly provides that all the executive and judicial authorities shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. He said that the founder of Pakistan Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah, while addressing the Officers of Staff College Quetta in 1948 stressed the need to understand the implications of the oath taken by the personnel of Armed Forces and to acquaint themselves with constitutional norms. He said that the Constitution of 1973 for the first time introduced a new chapter for the Armed Forces containing provisions pertaining to the command, oath and functions of the Armed Forces. Every member of the Armed Forces, he added, according to the oath, was bound to bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Furthermore, he said, he would not engage himself in any political activities whatsoever, and would honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan. He said that in the constitutional history of Pakistan, it was also for the first time that in the Constitution of 1973 the oath of the members of the Armed Forces has been incorporated. Earlier to this provision, they took oath prescribed in Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and the rules thereunder. By this measure, conscious effort was made, by the framers of the Constitution to clearly delineate role for the Armed Forces, responsible for its defence, security and to safeguard the Constitution from any adventurism, he said. He said that the Armed Forces of the country besides performing basic task of defending the motherland have also played a significant role in various other nation building projects and specially disaster management. Under the Constitution and law, CJ added, the services of the Armed Forces can be acquired to act in aid of the civil power and for maintaining law and order situation. The Armed Forces, in the times of natural calamities, played commendable role in the rescue and relief operations, which has been admired at every forum, whether it was the devastating earthquake in Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Islamabad in the year 2005 or the recent flood catastrophe, he said. CJ said that such magnitude of relief operations could only be undertaken by the organized and discipline Forces. If the Armed Forces would have not responded promptly and effectively to these catastrophes, the destruction in term of precious life and property would have been more severe and painful, he said. Similarly, our Armed Forces 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 in the country, he said. He said that as civilized member of the community of the nations, it was your obligation to fully contribute towards international peace and progress and happiness of the humanity. The CJ said that the Armed Forces of Pakistan, under the flag of United Nation, frequently undertake peace keeping operations.