Constitutions of Pakistan Essay
Constitutions of Pakistan
Introduction: The constitution of Pakistan that came into existence on March 23, 1956, abolished the office of the governor-general and provided for power-sharing arrangements between the president and the prime minister. East Pakistan (now the independent state of Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (known as Pakistan since 1971) were to have equal seats in the national legislature. While parliamentary and federal in form, the constitution ensured that the president retained supreme powers and the center was more powerful than the provinces. But this constitution had a very short life. The country’s first general elections were scheduled for February 1959, but President Iskandar Mirza, fearing a rise in East Pakistan’s influence could undermine his hold on power, abrogated the constitution before the elections in 1958, establishing martial law and appointing army chief Ayub Khan as chief martial law administrator. This set a precedent for the military to assert itself into the country’s political affairs. It also led to a pattern of takeovers, subversion of constitutional provisions, and a military-bureaucracy dominated executive that superseded the elected parliament.
A new constitution came into effect in 1962 which failed to include fundamental rights until the first amendment was made to it, granting the executive power to the president and abolishing the office of the prime minister. Most significantly, it institutionalized the intervention of military in politics by providing that for twenty years, the president or the defense minister must be a person who had held a rank not lower than that of lieutenant-general in the army. In 1969, the 1962 constitution was suspended, martial law was declared, and General Yahya Khan took over. After the secession of East Pakistan to form the new state of Bangladesh, a new constitution was brought in 1973. After taking control of the government in 1971. Z.A. Bhutto started work on a democratic constitution for the country. On 17th April 1972 the National Assembly constituted a committee to prepare a draft constitution.
The Committee worked hard and prepared the draft of the constitution which was presented to the leaders of all parliamentary leaders on 20th October 1972. All the leaders signed the draft. After that it was discussed and debated n the National Assembly which gave its approval on 10th April 1973. The President gave his assent on 12th April 1973. Finally the Senate approved the constitution in August 1973. Consequently the constitution was enforced in the country on 14th August 1973. According to the Constitution of 1973 Mr. Z.A. Bhutto look over as the tenth Prime Minister and Mr. Fazl-e-Elahi was sworn in as the President of Pakistan.
Constitution of Pakistan 1956:
The Constitution of 1956 was the fundamental law of Pakistan from March 1956 until the Revolution of October 1958.
Pakistan became independent of the United Kingdom in 1947. Under Section 8 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the Government of India Act, 1935 became, with certain adaptations, the working constitution of Pakistan. But the need of a constitution to be framed by the elected representatives of the people was all the more necessary for the free citizens of a sovereign state. Therefore the first Constituent Assembly was formed under the Independence Act and was entrusted with two separate functions: • To frame a Constitution for the country, and
• To set as a Federal Legislative Assembly or Parliament until that Constitution came into effect. The powers and functions of the central legislature under the Government of India Act were conferred on the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly could, however, amend the Indian Independence Act, 1947 or the Government of India Act, 1935, and no Act of the British Parliament could be extended to Pakistan without legislation by the Constituent Assembly. The first Constituent Assembly originally consisted of 69 members; subsequently the number of members was increased to 79 The first big step in the framing of a constitution for Pakistan was taken by the Constituent Assembly on 12 March 1949, when it passed a resolution on the ‘Aims and Objectives of the Constitution’, popularly known as the Objectives Resolution. It laid the foundation of the constitution and indicated the broad outline of its structure.
The resolution was moved by Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. While moving the Resolution, he said: Sir, I consider this to be a most important occasion in the life of this country, next in importance only to the achievement of independence, because by achieving independence we only won an opportunity of building up a country and its polity in accordance with our ideals. I would like to remind the house that the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam, gave expression of his feelings on this matter on many an occasion, and his views were endorsed by the nation in unmistakable terms, Pakistan was founded because the Muslims of this sub-continent wanted to build up their lives in accordance with the teachings and traditions of Islam, because they wanted to demonstrate to the world that Islam provides a panacea to the many diseases which have crept into the life of humanity today.] The resolution was debated for five days. The leading members of the government and a large number of non-Muslim members, especially from East Bengal, took a prominent part. Non-Muslim members expressed grave apprehensions about their position and role in the new policy. Hindu members of the Constitutional Assembly argued that the
Objectives Resolution differed with Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s (Quaid-e-Azam) view in all the basic points. Sris Chandra Chattopadhyaya said: What I hear in this (Objectives) Resolution is not the voice of the great creator of Pakistan – the Quaid-i-Azam, nor even that of the Prime Minister of Pakistan the Honorable Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, but of the Ulema of the land. Birat Chandra Mandal declared that Jinnah had “unequivocally said that Pakistan will be a secular state.” Bhupendra Kumar Datta went a step further: “…were this resolution to come before this house within the life-time of the Great Creator of Pakistan, the Quaid-i-Azam, it would not have come in its present shape. After nine years of efforts, Pakistan was successful in framing a constitution. The Constituent Assembly adopted it on 29 February 1956, and it was enforced on 23 March 1956, proclaiming Pakistan to be an Islamic republic. b) Provisions:
The Constitution of 1956 was lengthy and detailed; it contained 234 articles divided into thirteen parts and six schedules. The Constitution of 1956 provided for federal system with the principle of parity between East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The Federal Legislature was to perform like the British Parliament. The Centre was invested with such powers as to take unilateral action in emergency and it could influence the provincial autonomy. The Constitution of 1956 provided for the parliamentary form of government, where real executive authority was vested in a cabinet, collectively responsible to the legislature. The cabinet was presided over by the Prime Minister. The Constitution declared that there would be only one house of parliament known as the National Assembly and equality between the two Wings (i.e. East Pakistan and West Pakistan) was maintained in it.
The Governor General was replaced by a President, who was to be elected by the Electoral College of Pakistan composed of members of the National Assembly and Provincial Assembly. Familiar democratic rights and freedoms such as freedom of speech and expression, of assembly and association, of movement and of profession were all provided in the Constitution, with the usual qualifications. With regards to civil rights, familiar rights such as rights of life, liberty and property were granted, again with the usual qualifications and safeguards. The judiciary was given power to enforce the fundamental rights and the courts were to decide if a law was repugnant to any provisions of the fundamental rights.
c) Salient features:
• Written Constitution – This is a written and lengthy document. • Rigid Constitution – The constitution could only be amended through a process requiring the amendment to be passed by at least a two-thirds majority of the parliament and authentication by the President. • Islamic Republic of Pakistan – The name of the country was adopted as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. • Objectives Resolution – The objective resolution was included as permeable by the constitution. • Federal System – The constitution provides for a federal system in the country. Powers was divided between the Centre and the provinces. The subjects were divided into three lists; The Federal List, The Provincial List, and the Concurrent List. • Unicameral Legislature – The legislature would consist of a single house. Both the wings of the country were given representation in the National Assembly. The National Assembly consisted of 300 members. 150 members were drawn from each wing. • Parliamentary System – a parliamentary system was adopted, according to it the president was the head of state and the Prime Minister the head of government. • The President – required being a Muslim of at least forty years of age.
The tenure of his office was five years. In case of internal or external danger he could declare a state of emergency in the country. He was authorized to appoint the Governors, the Judges of the Supreme Court, Auditor General and the Advocate General. • The Prime Minister – He was to be the leader of the Parliamentary group and was thus indirectly elected by the people. He could choose his cabinet from the members of the National Assembly; the cabinet was answerable to the Assembly. • Provincial Autonomy – Curtailed in the constitution to a great extent. • Islamic Law – no law would be passed against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. • Free Judiciary – An independent judiciary in the country. A Supreme Court interpreted the constitution, advised the state whenever required, and decided the issues whenever required. • Fundamental Rights – included freedom of movement, freedom of speech and expression, freedom to choose profession and freedom to profess religion. Right to life, liberty, and property. • Language – Urdu & Bengali were made national languages. d) Islamic provisions:
• Islamic Republic of Pakistan – The name of the country was adopted as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. • Objectives Resolution – Included as preamble to the constitution. • Islamic Law – No Law would be passed against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, and existing laws would be made Islamic in character. • Muslim President – a requirement.
• Religious Freedom – Freedom to profess, practice and propagate any religion and the right to establish, maintain and manage religious institutions. • Life According to the Holy Quran and Sunnah- According to the directive principles, steps were to be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan individually and collectively to order their lives in accordance with the Holy Quran and Sunnah. • Teachings of the Holy Quran – Were to be made compulsory for all Muslims. • Slavery and forced labors were prohibited.
• Alcohol and narcotics – sale was banned and were prohibited • Prostitution – was prohibited
• Special tax – No person should be compelled to pay any special tax whose proceeds were to be spent on the propagation of any religion other than the person’s own. • Unity among Muslim countries – States were required to strengthen the bonds of Muslims. • Organization for Islamic Research and Instructions – The president was required to set up an organization for Islamic Research and Instruction in advanced studies to assist in the reconstruction of Muslim society on a true Islamic basis.
• A far-reaching devolution of power already a political reality, was not given a constitutional recognition and accepted as the basis of the stale, • The federal list was substantially reduced and the provincial list greatly enlarged, transferring to the provinces, among other things, control over mineral resources, recruitment of services, industries, internal communications and the tribal areas in the North West Frontier. This was contrary to the practice of advanced countries where the deferral principle has been used in building up a common nationhood through a strong centre. The constitution in Pakistan instead of being an instrument for unity a country already divided by geography, sought to create two distinct political entities with maximum autonomy in the management of their affairs • Regional loyalties were further consolidated by the introduction of parity of representation the National Assembly. The constitution was concerned in the belief that the political life of the country would always be tied to provincial moorings and will never rise a higher plane of nationalism in which party affiliations would cut across the physical barriers. Parity ‘was certain to foster parochial feeling equally in the region in whose favor it was to operate and in the region whose interests were adversely affected by it.
On 7 October 1958, He abrogated the constitution, imposed martial law and appointed General Muhammad Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator and Aziz Ahmad as Secretary General and Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator. However, three weeks later General Ayub—who had been openly questioning the authority of the government prior to the imposition of martial law—deposed Iskandar Mirza on 27 October 1958 and assumed the presidency that practically formalized the militarization of the political system in Pakistan.Four years later a new document, Constitution of 1962 was adopted. This was eventually succeeded by the Constitution of 1973.
Constitution of Pakistan 1962:
The Constitution of 1962 was the fundamental law of Pakistan from June 1962 until martial law was declared in March 1969. It was eventually replaced by the current Constitution of 1973.
Pakistan became an independent state in 1947. The first document that served as a constitution for Pakistan was the Government of India Act, 1935. The first Pakistani Constituent Assembly was elected in 1947 and after nine years adopted the first indigenous constitution, the short-lived Constitution of 1956. In October 1958, President Iskander Mirza staged a coup d’état and abrogated the constitution. Shortly afterwards General Ayub Khan deposed Iskandar and declared himself president.
On 17 February 1960 Ayub Khan appointed a commission to report on the future political framework for the country. The Commission was headed by the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Muhammad Shahabuddin, and had ten other members, five each from East Pakistan and West Pakistan, composed of retired judges, lawyers, industrialists and landlords. The report of the Constitution Commission was presented to President Ayub on 6 May 1961 and thoroughly examined by the President and his Cabinet. In January 1962, the
Cabinet finally approved the text of the new constitution. It was promulgated by President Ayub on 1 March 1962 and finally came into effect on 8 June 1962. The Constitution contained 250 articles divided into twelve parts and three schedules.
PAKISTAN was named as ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’. The constitution provided for a federal system with the principle of parity between East Pakistan and West Pakistan. Both the provinces would run their separate provincial governments. The responsibilities and authority of the centre and the provinces were clearly listed in the constitution. The Central Legislature had one house known as the National Assembly. There were 156 members of the National Assembly. The equality between the two wings were maintained in it.
The Constitution of 1962 provided for a presidential form of government, as opposed to the parliamentary form of government under the 1956 Constitution. The President, who must be a Muslim not less than 35 years of age and qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly was to be elected indirectly by an electoral college in accordance with the provisions outlined in the Constitution itself. The Electoral College formed by not less than 80,000 Basic Democrats (B.D.), equally distributed between the two provinces. Under the Constitution of 1962, if the number of candidates for election to the office of President exceeds three, the Speaker of the National Assembly was to convene a joint session of the members of the National and Provincial Assemblies to select only three candidates for election, the remaining candidates then would not be eligible. This screening was not applicable to a person who was holding the office of the President i.e. if the sitting President was also a candidate the number of candidates would be four.
The term of the President was five years to act as Head of State as well as Chief Executive—solely responsible for country’s administration. Governor and Minister were appointed and removed by him. He was eligible to promulgate Ordinances and veto against legislated laws only override able by two-thirds of the National Assembly. However, the President was not empowered to dissolve the Assembly except at the cost of his office also. On a charge of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct the President might be impeached by the National Assembly for which one-third of the total members of the National Assembly must give written notice to the Speaker for the removal of the President. The President was to be removed from office if the resolution for impeachment was passed by votes of not less than three-fourths of the total members of the Assembly. A significant feature of the impeachment procedure was that if the resolution for removal of the President fails to obtain one-half of the total number of members of the National Assembly the movers of the resolution would cease to be members of the Assembly.
The Constitution of 1962 provided for elections of the Central and Provincial Legislatures for a term of five years. The members of the Assemblies were elected by the Basic Democrats. The National Assembly was exclusively empowered to legislate for the central subjects. However, it could legislate on matters falling under provincial jurisdiction. The power to impose taxes was laid with the central legislature. The Assembly had to serve as a court in the cases of impeachment, conviction or declaring the President as incapacitated. It could amend the Constitution, but with two-thirds majority. However, if the President’s veto was over-ridden, he had the right to ask for the assent of the Electoral College. The procedure of the Provincial Assemblies was identical with that of the National Assembly……!
c) Salient features:
Written Constitution: The Constitution of 1962 was a written document. It consisted of five schedules and 250 articles.
Rigid Constitution: This is a rigid constitution. This is a rigid constitution can only be amended through a particular process. If an amendment to the constitution is passed by at least two-third majority of the parliament then it becomes a part of law after authentication by the
Federal System: A federal system was introduced in the country. It consisted of a central government and two provincial government comprising East and West Pakistan.
Presidential forum of Government: President was the head Executive of the nation. He was empowered to nominate the ministers of his cabinet.
Indirect Method of Election: The President was elected by an Electoral College comprising 80,000 Basic Democrats, equally distributed between the two provinces.
Provincial Governments: There were two provincial governments. Each of them was headed by a governor. He enjoyed powers in the province which the President enjoyed in the center. The Governor was empowered to appoint provincial ministers with the sanction of the President of Pakistan.
Provincial Legislature: Each province was provided with a legislature. It originally consisted of 150 members. However, later on this number was increased to 218.
Powers of President According to the 1962 Constitution the President should be a Muslim with the term of 5 years. He was eligible to promulgate Ordinances and veto against legislated laws only override-able by two/thirds of the National Assembly. However, the President was not empowered to dissolve the Assembly except the cost of his office also.
Restrictions to the President: The President was not allowed to hold any office of profit in the service of Pakistan but was not prevented from holding a managing private property.
Islamic Law: No Law would be passed against the teaching of Quran and Sunnah and the existing laws would be made Islamic in character.
Fundamental Rights: The constitution of 1962 laid down fundamental rights of speech and expression, freedom to choose profession and freedom to profess religion. With Regards to civil rights, familiar right such as the rights of life, livery and property were granted.
Role of Judiciary: The Judiciary was responsible for the interpretation of laws and executive orders in the light of the principles embodied in a written constitution.
Supreme Judicial Council: A supreme judicial council consisting of two judges of Supreme Court chief justice of Supreme Court and two judges of high courts was to be established.
d) Islamic Provisions:
• The preamble of the Constitution of 1962 was based on the Objectives Resolution. • The Constitution laid down simply that the state of Pakistan shall be an Islamic republic under the name of Islamic Republic of Pakistan’. • According to the principles of policy, steps were to be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam, and should be provided with facilities whereby they may be enabled to understand the meaning of life according to those principles and concepts. • No law shall be enacted which is repugnant to the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Qur’an and Sunnah and all existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Qur’an and Sunnah. • Only a Muslim could be qualified for the election as President. • Teaching of the Quran and Islamiyat to the Muslims of Pakistan was made compulsory. • Proper organisation of Zakat, waqf, and mosques was ensured. • Practical steps were to be taken to eradicate what were seen as social evils by Islam, such as the use of alcohol, gambling, etc. • A novel Islamic provision in the 1962 Constitution had introduced an ‘Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology’ to be appointed by the President.
The functions of the Council was to make recommendations to the Government as to means which would enable and encourage the Muslims of Pakistan to order their lives in accordance with the principles and concepts of Islam and to examine all laws in force with a view to bring them into conformity with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Qur’an and Sunnah.. • There shall be an organisation to be known as Islamic Research Institute, which shall be established by the President. The function of the Institute was to undertake Islamic Research and Instruction in Islam for the purpose of assisting in the reconstruction of Muslim society on a truly Islamic basis. • The state should endeavour to strengthen the bonds of unity among Muslim countries.
The second martial law was imposed on 25 March 1969, when President Ayub Khan abrogated the Constitution of 1962 and handed over power to the Army Commander-in-Chief, General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan. On assuming the presidency, General Yahya Khan acceded to popular demands by abolishing the one-unit system in West Pakistan and ordered general elections on the principle of one man one vote.
Constitution of Pakistan 1973:
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan. Known as the Constitution of 1973, it was drafted by the government of Zulia Ali Bhutto and, following additions by the opposition parties, was approved by the legislative assembly on April 10, 1973. It was Pakistan’s first ever constitution by consensus unlike two earlier constitutions, the Constitution of 1956 and the Constitution of 1962.
Pakistan became independent from British India in 1947, following its partition. The first document that served as a constitution for Pakistan was the Government of India Act, 1935. The first Pakistani Constituent Assembly was elected in 1947 and after nine years adopted the first indigenous constitution, the short-lived Constitution of 1956.
In October 1958, President Iskander Mirza staged a coup d’état and abrogated the constitution. Shortly afterwards General Ayub Khan deposed Iskandar and declared himself president. In 1960 Ayub Khan appointed a commission to draft a new constitution. The new Constitution of 1962 was decreed by President Ayub in March of that year. On 25 March 1969 the Second Martial Law was imposed; President Ayub Khan abrogated the 1962 constitution and handed over power to the Army Commander-in-Chief, General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan.
On assuming the presidency, General Yahya Khan acceded to popular demands by abolishing the one-unit system in West Pakistan and ordered general elections on the principle of one man, one vote.
General Yahya’s regime made no attempt to frame a constitution. The expectations were that a new constituent assembly would be set up by holding a free and fair election. In order to hold the proposed elections, President Yahya Khan promulgated a Legal Framework Order on 30 March 1970 that also spelled out the fundamental principles of the proposed constitution and the structure and composition of the national and provincial assemblies.[
In December, 1970 elections were held simultaneously for both the national and five provincial assemblies. By any criteria, elections were free and fair.Although Mujib had been released from prison by yahya khan due to the fact that he vanished all the charges on all political leaders. There was no interference from the government; it maintained strict neutrality showing no favor or discrimination for or against any political parties. The members of the ruling council of ministers were debarred from participation in the elections. There were no allegations of rigging of the elections as is often alleged in elections held in the countries of the Third World.
But the results of the first and the last general elections in united Pakistan were simply disastrous from the standpoint of national unity and demonstrated the failure of national integration. There was not a single national party in the country which enjoyed the confidence of the people of Pakistan, both east and West Pakistan. Two regional parties—the Awami League (AL) under the leadership East Pakistan—won 290 out of 288 seats allotted for East Pakistan. But in West Pakistan it could not secure a single seat and the percentage of votes secured by the Awami League in the four provinces of West Pakistan were: 0.07 (Punjab), 0.07 (Sindh) 0.2 (Pakhtunkhwa and 1.0 (Baluchistan).
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto won 88 out of 144 seats for West Pakistan. But the PPP did not even dare to set up a candidate in East Pakistan. The remaining 57 seats of West Pakistan were shared by seven parties and there were fifteen independent candidates. The PPP emerged as the single largest party in West Pakistan with majorities in Sindh and the Punjab; and the National Awami Party (NAP) together with their political ally, Jamiat-ul Ulema-i-Islam (of Maulana Mufti Mahmood) JUI, got clear majorities in Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. None of the West Pakistani political parties, like the PPP, could win a single seat in East Pakistan. The religious question played little or no part in the elections. There can be no doubt that in East Pakistan the principles which won the consensus of opinion was the single basic notion of autonomy
The Awami League had fought the elections on the basis of their six points formula, which committed them to restructure the existing federal system in order to ensure maximum political autonomy for East Pakistan. Under this formula, only two portfolios—Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense—would be retained by the central government. The PPP, on the other hand, was not willing to dilute the authority of the central government in spite of assuring full provincial autonomy for all the provinces of Pakistan. The National Awami Party and JUI coalition sided with the AL so that they might obtain maximum autonomy for their own provinces, i.e., Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The election results truly reflected the ugly political reality: the division of the Pakistani electorate along regional lines and political polarization of the country between the two wings, Pakistan and West Pakistan. In
political terms, therefore, Pakistan as a nation stood divided as a result of the very first general elections in twenty-three years of its existence.
Thus the general elections of 1970 produced a new political configuration with three distinct centres of power the AL in East Pakistan: (ii) the PPP in Sindh and the Punjab.
This constitution represented a compromise consensus on three issues: the role of Islam, the sharing of power between the federal government and the provinces, and the division of responsibilities between the President and the Prime Minister, with a greatly strengthened position for the latter.
The Constitution provided for a federal system. The Federal Legislature is to function like the British Parliament. In order to allay the concerns of the provinces concerning the equitable distribution of legislative power, the constitution established a bicameral legislature with a Senate (the upper house), providing equal provincial representation, and a National Assembly (the lower house), allocating seats according to population.
Islam was declared the state religion. The Constitution stated Pakistan’s official name as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Only a Muslim could become the President or the Prime Minister of Pakistan. No law repugnant to Islam shall be enacted and the present laws shall also be Islamized.
The President must be a Muslim not less than 45 years of age, elected by members of Parliament. He is to hold office for a term of five years. The President could be removed by the resolution of parliament of not less than two thirds of the total membership. The President could issue ordinances when the Parliament is not in session. The President has the power of granting pardon and the right to be kept informed by the Prime Minister on all matters of internal and foreign policies.
The Constitution sets forth the parliamentary system of Government. The head
of the Government, according to the Constitution, will be the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet is accountable to the National Assembly for his actions. The Prime Minister would be elected by the majority of the National Assembly.
The Constitution of 1973 introduced a new institution known as the ‘Council of Common Interests’ consisting of Chief Ministers of the provinces and an equal number of Ministers of the Federal Government nominated by the Prime Minister. The Council could formulate and regulate the policy in the Part II of the Legislative List. In case of complaint of interference in water supply by any province the Council would look into the complaint.
Another major innovation in the Constitution of 1973 is the establishment of a National Finance Commission (NFC) consisting of the Federal and Provincial Finance Ministers and other members to advice on distribution of revenues between the federation and the provinces.
The Principles of Policy includes Islamic way of life, promotion of Local Government institutions, full participation of women in national life, protection of minorities, promotion of social and economic well being of the people, and strengthening the bonds with the Muslim world and to work for international peace.
Under the 1973 Constitution, Fundamental Rights include security of person, safeguards as to arrest and detention, prohibition of slavery and forced labor, freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom to profess religion and safeguards to religious institutions, non-discrimination in respect of access to public places and in service, preservation of languages, script and culture. The judiciary enjoys full supremacy over the other organs of the state.
c) Salient Features:
Like the previous constitutions of 1956 and 1962 the Constitution of 1973
is a written document. It is very comprehensive and consists of twelve parts consisting of 280 articles. Introductory and the Objectives Resolution:
It commences with an introductory which slates the Islam shall be state religion. The principles and provisions set out in the Objectives Resolution have been made substantive part of the constitution. Islamic System:
The inclusion of Islamic Provisions has given the 1973 Constitution an unprecedented Islamic character. It ensures an Islamic system in the country. Rigid Constitution:
It is a rigid constitution. No Government can change it at will. It is not easy to make amendments in it. Two-third majority of both the Houses is required for this purpose. Federal System:
The Constitution of 1973 has introduced a Federal system in the country. The federation of Pakistan consists of a Central Government and four Provincial Governments. The Federal Government is headed by a President elected by members of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) Parliamentary form of Government:
The 1973 Constitution proposes a Parliamentary form of Government in the country. Prime minister is the head of the Parliamentary system. He is leader of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliamentary). He is elected on direct adult franchise basis. The Prime Minister selects a cabinet of central ministers from the members of Parliament which conducts the affairs of the country. According to 1973 Constitution the Prime Minister enjoys wide powers. Bicameral Legislature:
The Constitution provides for the establishment of a bicameral legislature in Pakistan. The Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) consists of two Houses named Senate and National Assembly. The Senate or the Upper House consists of 63 members (the 8th Amendment has raised this number to 87). The National Assembly consists of 200 members (Now this number has been raised to 207). The Majlis-e-Shoora enjoys wide powers of legislature. Direct Method of Election:
The Constitution of 1973 gives a direct method of election. The members of
the National Assembly, the Provincial Assemblies are directly elected by the people. Independence of Judiciary:
The Constitution of 1973 stresses upon the establishment of an independent judiciary. Full job security has been provided. The judges are appointed by the President. They cannot be removed from service before the end of their term except on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council. In addition the Judges National Language:
The 1973 Constitution are paid respectable salaries.
has declared Urdu as the national language of Pakistan. However English has been retained as the official language for 15 years. Similarly regional languages have been provided full protection. Single Citizenship:
The Constitution of 1973 has established the principles of single citizenship. According to this principle the rights and duties of the citizens are determined by the Federal Constitution only. Thus the people throughout Pakistan are citizens of Pakistan. Rule of Law:
The 1973 Constitution establishes rule of law in Pakistan. According to rule of law no person can be deprived of his fundamental rights. All the citizens of Pakistan are equal before law. High Treason:
According to the Constitution of 1973 the act of unconstitutional abrogation of the Constitution has been declared as an act of High Treason. Referendum:
The Constitution of 1973 has authorized the President to hold Referendum on any national issue. Similarly the Prime Minister can ask the President to hold referendum on any important national issue.
d) Islamic provisions:
• The name ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ is selected for the state of Pakistan. • Islam is declared as the state religion of Pakistan.
• Steps shall be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan, individually or collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam. • Steps shall be taken to make the
teaching of the Qur’an and Islamiyat compulsory, to encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic language and to secure correct and exact printing and publishing of the Qur’an. • Proper organisation of Zakat, waqf and mosques is ensured. • The state shall prevent prostitution, gambling and consumption of alcohol, printing, publication, circulation and display of obscene literature and advertisements. • Only a Muslim could be qualified for election as President (male or female) and Prime Minister (male or female). No restriction as to religion or gender on any other post, up to and including provincial governor and Chief Minister. • All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Qur’an and Sunnah and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such injunctions. • A Council of Islamic Ideology shall be constituted referred to as the Islamic Council. The functions of the Islamic Council shall be to make recommendations to Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies about the ways and means of enabling and encouraging the Muslims of the Pakistan to order their lives in accordance with the principles of Islam.
• The President or the Governor of a province may, or if two fifths of its total membership so requires, a House or a Provincial Assembly shall, refer to the Islamic Council for advice on any question as to whether a proposed law is or is not repugnant to the injunctions of Islam. • For the first time, the Constitution of Pakistan gave definition of a Muslim which states: ‘Muslim’ means a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of theProphethood of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, and does not believe in, or recognise as a prophet or religious reformer, any person who claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad. • The state shall endeavor to strengthen the bonds of unity among Muslim countries. • The Second Amendment (wef 17 September 1974) of the 1973 Constitution declared for the first time the Ahmadiyya Community or the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam (Lahoris) as non-Muslims, and their leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who claimed to be prophet of God, to which mainstream Muslims do not agree.
e) Comparison with previous constitutions:
With regard to provincial rights the 1973 constitution was in fact the most centralised of Pakistan’s various constitutions. The Government of India Act of 1935, which Pakistan adopted as its first working constitution, granted the federal government 96 items of power. The 1956 constitution reduced that number to 49, and this was retained in the 1962 constitution. In 1973, however, it was then enlarged to 114.
The preceding survey of Pakistan’s Constitution and the successive changes brought about in it may help realise a few major points. The most noticeable fact is that the Constitution has faced the challenge of survival, which hasbeen threatened many a time in the past. Once the Constitution was abrogated and later it was held inabeyance. Whenever the Constitution was restored it wasdone so along with changes and amendments, which characteristically altered its earlier status. Therefore, whatwe identify today as the Constitution, is drastically differentfrom its shape when it was adopted in 1973. Change in the Constitution is not something which in itself can beopposed. A living constitution always responds to thechanging conditions and the new requirements of thesociety.
Where in the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people; Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed; Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah; Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures; Wherein the territories now included in or in accession with Pakistan and such other territories as may hereafter be included in or accede to Pakistan shall form a Federation wherein the units will be autonomous with such boundaries and limitations on their powers and authority as may be prescribed;
Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before [the] law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality; Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes; Wherein the independence of the judiciary shall be fully secured; Wherein the integrity of the territories of the Federation, its independence and all its rights, including its sovereign rights on land, sea and air, shall be safeguarded; So that the people of Pakistan may prosper and attain their rightful and honoured place amongst the nations of the World and make their full contribution towards international peace and progress and happiness of humanity; Conscious of our responsibility before Almighty Allah and men; Cognizant of the sacrifices made by the people in the cause of Pakistan and Faithful to the declaration made by the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, that Pakistan would be a democratic State based on Islamic principles of social justice; References: