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Constitution of Pakistan (A Summary) POSTED IN: PAGES FROM PAKISTAN

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: ???? ??????? ) is the supreme law of Pakistan. It is also known as the Constitution of 1973, and is the successor to two earlier documents, the Constitution of 1956 and the Constitution of 1962. Pakistan’s constitution provides for a semi-presidential system of government with the President of Pakistan as head of state and a popularly elected Prime Minister as head of government. Pakistan has a bicameral legislature that consists of the Senate (upper house) and the National Assembly (lower house). Together with the President, the Senate and National Assembly make up a body called the Majlis-e-Shoora (Council of Advisors) or Parliament Previous constitutions 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[2]. 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. [ ] 1969-1973 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.

Baluchistan and the NWFP. like the PPP. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto won 88 out of 144 seats for West Pakistan. got clear majorities in Baluchistan and the NWFP.2 (NorthWest Frontier Province (NWFP)) and 1. and the National Awami Party (NAP) together with their political ally. There was not a single national party in the country which enjoyed the confidence of the people of Pakistan. was not willing to dilute the authority of the central government in-spite of assuring full provincial autonomy for all the provinces of Pakistan.0 (Baluchistan).07 (Sindh) 0. could win a single seat in East Pakistan. on the other hand. The remaining 57 seats of West Pakistan were shared by seven parties and there were fifteen independent candidates.e. 1970 elections were held simultaneously for both the national and five provincial assemblies.07 (Punjab). 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. The Awami League had fought the elections on the basis of their six points formula. Jamiat-ul Ulema-i-Islam (of Maulana Mufti Mahmood) JUI. But the PPP did not even dare to set up a candidate in East Pakistan. The members of the ruling council of ministers were debarred from participation in the elections. therefore. . 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. There was no interference from the government. Under this formula. elections were free and fair. By any criteria. There can be no doubt that in East Pakistan the principles which won the consensus of opinion was the single basic notion of autonomy.. There were no allegations of rigging of the elections as is often alleged in elections held in the countries of the Third World. The NAP and JUI coalition sided with the AL so that they might obtain maximum autonomy for their own provinces. 0. 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. it maintained strict neutrality showing no favor or discrimination for or against any political parties. only two portfolios — Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defence — would be retained by the central government. None of the West Pakistani political parties. East and West Pakistan. Two regional parties — the Awami League (AL) under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in East Pakistan — won 160 out of 162 seats allotted for East Pakistan. i. both East and West Pakistan. The PPP. which committed them to restructure the existing federal system in order to ensure maximum political autonomy for East Pakistan. The PPP emerged as the single largest party in West Pakistan with majorities in Sindh and the Punjab. In political terms.In December. The religious question played little or no part in the elections.

the President was to decide when the Assembly was to meet. Once assembled it was to frame a new constitution within 120 days or stand dissolved. the President announced that the National Assembly was to meet at Dhaka on 3 March. Tajuddin Ahmad. “he realized from his discussions with Bhutto before and after the 1970 elections that if he had to make a choice between the two ‘Ps (power or Pakistan). On the other hand. Choudhury. According to G.” Mujib was apparently more interested in creating a separate state for Bengalis. He refused. On 22 December 1970 the Secretary of the Awami League. and (iii) the NAP-JUI in Baluchistan and the NWFP. In fact he realized that in a united Pakistan. to negotiate on the Six Points.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:(i) the AL in East Pakistan: (ii) the PPP in Sindh and the Punjab. W. led by Bhutto. On 13 February 1971. Bangladesh since he had no trust in the ruling elite of West Pakistan. one by whipping up regional feeling against Punjabi domination and the other by whipping up militant national feelings against India.” Negotiations were held between January and March 1971 between the two major regional leaders – Mujib and Bhutto – and the ruling military government under President Yahya Khan. he had little chance of becoming either prime minister or president. Yahya Khan There were two major claimants of power: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. But the tripartite negotiations for an agreed federal or even a confederal constitution was a dismal and total failure. even though it had a majority. Neither had any constructive or positive approach. claimed that his party having won an absolute majority had a clear mandate and was quiet competent to frame a constitution and to form a central government on its own. he would choose the former. the armed forces with their spokesman. Bhutto was more interested in getting power. He was more interested in getting a 21-gun salute as the head of the state than in the maintenance of the unity of Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman declared on 3 January 1971 that his party would not frame a constitution on its own. According to G. By this time the differences between the main parties to the conflict had already crystallized. however. At the top of all this was the fourth centre of power. Under the Legal Framework Order. W. “both (the leaders) flourished on negative appeals to the illiterate voters of Pakistan. Chowdhury in his book ‘The Last Days of United Pakistan’. . saying that they were now public property and no longer negotiable. The crux of the conflict was that the majority party in the west. no matter whether in a united or divided Pakistan.

000 military personnel were taken as prisoners of war on 16 December 1971.was convinced that a federation based on the Six Points would lead to a feeble confederation in name only. Pakistani forces had to surrender to the Indian Army. asserting that ‘Our stand is absolutely clear. The civil disobedience movement later developed into a war of national liberation fully backed by the Indian Army. and almost over 93. He also denied that the Six Points would leave the central government at the mercy of the provinces and contended that they were designed only to safeguard provincial autonomy. however. As a result. the National Assembly of Pakistan appointed a . Demoralized and finding himself unable to control the situation. The Awami League launched a non-cooperation movement and virtually they controlled the entire province. Bhutto announced on 15 February that his party would not attend the National Assembly unless there was ‘some amount of reciprocity’ from the Awami League. could not even meet on 26 March due to widespread disturbances in East Pakistan where the army moved in on 26 March to control the situation. It was seen as a betrayal and as proof of the authorities of the West Pakistan to deny them the fruits of their electoral victory. General Yahya Khan surrendered power to Bhutto who was sworn-in on 20 December 1971 as President and as the (first civilian) Chief Martial Law Administrator. after an intensive discussion. As per consultations floated by PPP. These fears were evidently shared by the military leaders in the west. The constitution will be framed on the basis of the Six Points’. The National Assembly. A new and smaller Pakistan emerged on 16 December 1971. [ ] Drafting and enactment After gaining power. Bhutto demanded that either the 120-day limit for the national Assembly be removed or the opening session be postponed. President Yahya Khan responded next day by postponing the Assembly meeting to 25 March. which resulted in an agreement known as the ‘Constitutional Accord’. there would be a general strike throughout West Pakistan. This resulted in the outbreak of violence in East Pakistan. At best it would lead to a feeble confederation and at worst it would result in the division of the country into two states. On 28 February 28. Pakistan. declaring that if it was held on 3 March as planned. The postponement of the National Assembly came as a shattering disillusionment to the Awami League and their supporters throughout East Pakistan. Sheikh Mujib replied at a press conference on February 21. Thus ended an important era of the largest Muslim state. including President Yahya Khan who had publicly described Sheikh Mujibur Rehman as the ‘future Prime Minister of Pakistan’ on 14 January 1971. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto invited the leaders of the parliamentary parties to meet him on 17 October 1972.

The President must be a Muslim not less than 45 years of age. The Constitution came into effect from 14 August 1973. Mohammad Ali Kasuri was the elected chairman of the Committee. The Constitution named Pakistan as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. [ ] Provisions This constitution represented a compromise consensus on three issues: the role of Islam. 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 . the draft bill for the Constitution of Pakistan was signed by leaders of all parliamentary groups in the National Assembly. Only a Muslim could become the President or the Prime Minister of Pakistan. On the same day. according to the Constitution. The Constitution provided for federal system. In order to allay fears of the provinces concerning domination of the Centre. allocating seats according to population. to prepare a draft of the permanent Constitution of Pakistan. Bhutto took over as the Prime Minister and Choudhary Fazal-e-Elahi as the President of Pakistan. with a greatly strengthened position for the latter. and a National Assembly (the lower house). the constitution established a bicameral legislature with a Senate (the upper house). A bill to provide a constitution for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was introduced in the Assembly on 2 February 1973. elected by members of Parliament. No law repugnant to Islam shall be enacted and the present laws shall also be Islamised. The head of the Government.committee. The Prime Minister would be elected by the majority of the National Assembly. on 17 April 1972. providing equal provincial representation. He is to hold office for a term of five years. the sharing of power between the federal government and the provinces. 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 President could be removed by the resolution of parliament of not less than two-thirds of the total membership. The Constitution sets-forth the parliamentary system of Government. The Assembly passed the bill unanimously on 19 April 1973 and endorsed by the acting President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 12 April 1973. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet is accountable to the National Assembly for his actions. The President could issue ordinances when the Parliament is not in session. On 20 October 1972. Islam has been declared as the state religion. and the division of responsibilities between the President and the Prime Minister. of 25 members. The Federal Legislature is to function like the British Parliament. will be the Prime Minister.

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. freedom of speech. · Only a Muslim could be qualified for election as President (male or . · The state shall prevent prostitution. protection of minorities. and strengthening the bonds with the Muslim world and to work for international peace. non-discrimination in respect of access to public places and in service. prohibition of slavery and forced labour. to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam. individually or collectively. preservation of languages. Fundamental Rights include security of person. publication. The judiciary enjoys full supermacy over the other organs of the state.number of Ministers of the Federal Government nominated by the Prime Minister. waqf and mosques is ensured. The Principals of Policy includes Islamic way of life. script and culture. freedom of movement. circulation and display of obscene literature and advertisements. printing. Urdu is the national language. safeguards as to arrest and detention. promotion of Local Government institutions. · Islam is declared as the state religion of Pakistan. to encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic language and to secure correct and exact printing and publishing of the Qur’an. [ ] Islamic provisions · The name ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ is selected for the state of Pakistan. · Proper organisation of Zakat. · Steps shall be taken to make the teaching of the Qur’an and Islamiyat compulsory. The Council could formulate and regulate the policy in the Part II of the Legislative List. Under the 1973 Constitution. · Steps shall be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan. gambling and consumption of alcohol. full participation of women in national life. promotion of social and economic well being of the people. freedom of association. freedom to profess religion and safeguards to religious institutions.

after Muhammad.female) and Prime Minister (male or female). in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever. · The state shall endeavor to strengthen the bonds of unity among Muslim countries. · The President or the Governor of a province may. In 1973. and their leader. the Constitution of Pakistan gave definition of a Muslim which states: ‘Muslim’ means a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Allah. 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. up to and including provincial governor and Chief Minister. however. or if two-fifths of its total membership so requires. who had styled himself as a so-called prophet of Islam. The Government of India Act of 1935. · 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. in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of the Islamic prophet. granted the federal government 96 items of power. [ ] Comparision with previous constitutions With regard to provincial rights the 1973 constitution was in fact the most centralised of Pakistan’s various constitutions. it was then enlarged to 114. · For the first time. any person who claimed or claims to be a prophet. · A Council of Islamic Ideology shall be constituted referred to as the Islamic Council. · The Second Amendment (wef 17 September 1974) of the 1973 Constitution declared for the first time the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Qadianis) or the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam (Lahoris) as non-Muslims. which Pakistan adopted as its first working constitution. Muhammad. and does not believe in. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. a House or a Provincial Assembly shall. The 1956 constitution reduced that number to 49. 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. as a fraudster and imposter Nabi. [ ] 18th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan approved as on . No restriction as to religion or gender on any other post. or recognise as a prophet or religious reformer. and this was retained in the 1962 constitution.

April 16. The next step in the process is for the draft to be now presented to the National Assembly after which the Government is expected to move the 18th Amendment for Parliamentary approval. the PML-N proposal of adding a seventh member who is a retired Supreme Court Judge has been accepted. Ahsan Iqbal. The new name of the NWFP is to be Khyber-Pakhtunkwa. Zia-ul-Haq as President from the Constitution (it is not yet clear what this means in practice). Humayun Saifullah. The PML-N which had long held out on this issue has reportedly agreed to this name change. which had first been inserted into the Constitution by Gen. The famed article 58 (2) (b). Pervez Musharraf. Reportedly the draft “purges” the name of gen. On the other controversial issue of the composition of the Judicial Commission. Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi. and which was re-enacted by Gen. Haider Abbass Rizvi. Ishaq Dar. Babar Awan. The draft abolishes the “concurrent list” and gives much more provincial autonomy than is now available to the provinces. Zia ul Haq and allows the President to dissolve Parliament. and the 17th Amendment (enacted by Gen. 2010 18th Amendment itself includes 105 amendments to the 1973 Constitution. Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi. Farooq Sattar. including the 17th Amendment. It is expected that the draft will be tabled in Parliament within the next couple of days. although PML-Q has maintained some reservations to it as has PPP-Sherpao. The draft proposes removal of many past amendments added by military rulers. Zia ul Haq) which had altered over 90 Articles of the Constitution. Haji Lashkari Raisani. Pervez Musharraf) which had altered 26 Articles of the Constitution. It included: Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. S M Zafar. the 18th Amendment will undo the impacts of the 8th Amendment (enacted by Gen. In particular. Afrasyab . These 105 amendments will effect 70 Articles of the existing Constitutions. has been removed from the Constitution in the draft. The Council of Common Interest has been given additional powers and the provinces have been given more say on national matters by enhancing their representation in the council. Maulana Fazlur Rahman.(done) The committee which worked on this draft for nine months includes representatives from all the political groups having representation in the two houses of parliament. Syed Naveed Qamar. There are three “schedules” and one “Annexure” in the draft package. Wasim Sajjad.

which has also been the architect of the first amendments to it. Wherein the integrity of the territories of the Federation. 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. tolerance and social justice. Abdul Rahim Mandokhel. And whereas it is the will of the people of Pakistan to establish an order :Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people. RehmatUallah Kakar. 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. of opportunity and before law. expression. belief. its independence and all its rights. and freedom of thought. Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao. faith. including equality of status. as enunciated by Islam. Professor Khursheed Ahmed. social. . shall be safeguarded. including its sovereign rights on land. and Mian Raza Rabbani. freedom. Wherein the independence of the judiciary shall be fully secured. economic and political justice. Mir Israr Ullah Zehri. [ ] Preamble Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone.Khattak. Wherein the principles of democracy. Therein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights. Haji Muhammad Adeel. worship and association. The original Constitution was passed in the first PPP government. shall be fully observed. equality. sea and air. subject to law and public morality. Shahid Bugti. Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures. Abdul Razaq Taheem. Hasil Bizenjo. Munir Khan Orakzai. Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes. and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust.

that Pakistan would be a democratic State based on Islamic principles of social justice. Dedicated to the preservation of democracy achieved by the unremitting struggle of the people against oppression and tyranny. through our representatives in the National Assembly. Do hereby. Faithful to the declaration made by the Founder of Pakistan. we. Cognisant of our responsibility before Almighty Allah and men. Cognisant of the sacrifices made by the people in the cause of Pakistan. the people of Pakistan. . therefore. Inspired by the resolve to protect our national and political unity and solidarity by creating an egalitarian society through a new order. adopt. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah]. enact and give to ourselves. this Constitution.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 : Now.