14th June, 1948
I thank you, gentlemen, for the honour you have done me and Miss Fatima Jinnah by inviting us to meet you all. You, along with other Forces of Pakistan; are the custodians of the life, property and honour of the people of Pakistan. The Defence Forces are the most vital of all Pakistan Service and correspondingly a very heavy responsibility and burden lies on your shoulders.
I have no doubt in my mind, from what I have seen and from what I have gathered, that the spirit of the Army is splendid, the morale is very high, and what is very encouraging is that every officer and soldier, no matter what the race or community to which he belongs, is working as a true Pakistani.
If you all continue in that spirit and work as comrades, as true Pakistanis selflessly, Pakistan has nothing to fear.
One thing more, I am persuaded to say this because during my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the Oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Of course, an oath is only a matter of form; what are more important are the true spirit and the heart.
But it is an important form, and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescribed oath to you.
“I solemnly affirm, in the presence of Almighty God, that I owe allegiance to the Constitution and Dominion of Pakistan (mark the words Constitution and the Government of the Dominion of Pakistan) and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully serve in the Dominion of Pakistan Forces and go within the terms of my enrolment wherever I may be ordered by air, land or sea and that I will observe and obey all commands of any officer set over me…..”
As I have said just now, the spirit is what really matters. I should like you to study the Constitution, which is in force in Pakistan, at present and understand its true constitutional and legal implications when you say that you will be faithful to the Constitution of the Dominion.
I want you to remember and if you have time enough you should study the Government of India Act, as adapted for use in Pakistan, which is our present Constitution, that the executive authority flows from the Head of the Government of Pakistan, who is the governor-general and, therefore, any command or orders that may come to you cannot come without the sanction of the Executive Head. This is the legal position.
Finally, gentlemen, let me thank you for the honour that you have done me by inviting me. I will be glad to meet the officers informally, as suggested by the General Officers Commanding in his speech, and such a meeting can be, arranged at a time convenient to us both. I have every desire to keep in close contact with the officers and men of the Defence Forces and I hope that when I have little more time from the various problems that are facing us in Pakistan, which is for the moment in a state of national emergency, and when things settle down–and I hope it will be very soon–then I shall find more time to establish greater and greater contact with the Defence Forces.