While the whole of the machinery of the federal and the Punjab government is busy in making parleys with certain coalition partners and other political and religious parties the leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Pakistan Muslim League-Q remained in contact with each other late Thursday night to finalize a new strategy to counter the federal government’s move to deploy armed forced in Islamabad. The leadership of these parties had been briefed that the deployment of the armed forces could be for a specified and identified area and not for the unlimited and unidentified areas.
The constitutional picture in relation to deployment of the armed forces in the federal capital or expectedly in some other part of the country is subject to the parameters so warranted for it. It is therefore so that the parties opposing Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif for his alleged monarchy have rightly opted to assail the imposition of article 245 of the Constitution before provincial High Courts. The history of the invoking article 245 of the constitution suggested that the federal government could not imposition of the article 245 of the constitution without certain parameters that have been set up by the Judiciary. These are at least three important factors for which the federal government is supposed to justify and convince the superior judiciary for its action to impose article 245 to bring armed forces in aid of the civil power which are (i) whether there is a direction of the Federal Government under article 245 of the constitution (ii) whether the armed forces start acting in aid of the civil power in pursuance of that direction and (iii) whether the area has been specified and identified where they are so acting.
Interestingly while the timing of the protest of the leadership of the PTI, PAT and the PML (Q) together with some other smaller parties is very important and particularly when the head of the most powerful intelligence agency of the country date of retirement is due sometime in October this year, these parties looked fully charged and determined to go for a do or die to get rid of the present regime which according to them is the outcome of worst kind of rigging in the last general election.
An insider told that the workers of anti Nawaz Sharif parties may also change venue of their protest on the day of their protest if their leadership directed for it. However, on the other hand the ruling party and its coalition partners are of the view that mere sit-in of a few thousands people might not cause any harm to them or their government. Since the deployment of the armed forces in the federal capital has already been challenged before the Islamabad High Court and in view of the law that such a deployment of the armed forces in any other part of the country is subject to four corners of law and for a specified and identified area as such there are chances that a new stage can be set up in Lahore where the provincial and local administration seemed ready to face any challenge or unpleasant situation.
It must be kept in view that the quantum of aid to be given and the manner in which this assistance is to be rendered by the Armed forces as a matter of constitutional duty depend upon the nature of the direction issued by the federal government or by the local administration in this behalf. Therefore, no action in the garb of aid to civil power will be in contradistinction to Military power or armed power and judicial power. It is very much clear that article 245 of the constitution does not authorize a political government to rule through armed forces and to clothe them with such powers and jurisdiction as to replace civil power. A full bench of Lahore High Court has held that armed forces cannot be deployed as machinery for running government through them nor can Martial Law be imposed for the purpose.
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