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Constitution of PakistanPakistan

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The Constitution of Pakistan (Urdu: ) is the supreme law of Pakistan. There have been several documents known as the Constitution of Pakistan. The Constitution of 1973 is the existing constitution, which provides for a parliamentary system with a President as head of state and 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-i-Shoora (Council of Advisors) or Parliament.[1]

Contents

1 The Government of India Act, 1935 2 Objectives Resolution 3 The Constitution of 1956 3.1 Islamic provisions in the Constitution of 1956 3.2 The first martial law and the abrogation of the Constitution 4 The Constitution of 1962 4.1 Islamic provisions in the Constitution of 1962 4.2 The second martial law, abrogation of the Constitution and the new political situation[9] 5 The Constitution of 1973

5.1 Islamic provisions in the Constitution of 1973 5.2 Comparison with previous constitutions 5.3 Preamble of the 1973 Constitution (existing constitution) 6 References

7 External links

The Government of India Act, 1935Under 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 people of a sovereign state. Therefore the first Constituent Assembly was formed under the Independence Act, 1947 and was entrusted with two separate functions:[2]

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, 1935, 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 (including 44 from East Bangal).[2]

Objectives Resolution

Liaquat Ali Khan

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.[3] 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."[4]

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. Below is the text of the Objectives Resolution:Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust; This Constituent Assembly representing the people of Pakistan resolves to frame a Constitution for the sovereign independent State of Pakistan; Wherein 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 the Sunnah; Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities 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 law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality; Wherein adequate provisions 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 honored place amongst the nations of the World and make their full contribution towards international peace and progress and happiness of humanity.

The Constitution of 1956

After nine years of efforts, Pakistan was successful in framing a constitution in 1956. The Constituent Assembly adopted it on 29 February, 1956, and it was enforced on 23 March, 1956, proclaiming Pakistan to be an Islamic Republic. The Constitution 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 an Electoral College comprising 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. As per the Constitution, Urdu and Bengali were made national languages.[5]

Islamic provisions in the Constitution of 1956

The text of Objectives Resolution was repeated in the preamble of the Constitution of 1956 without any major change. The name "Islamic Republic of Pakistan" was selected for the state of Pakistan. All citizens of Pakistan were granted freedom to profess, practise and propagate any religion and the right to establish, maintain and manage religious institutions. 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 principles in Holy Quran and Sunnah. No law shall be enacted which is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah and that existing laws shall be brought into conformity with such injunctions. Whether a law was repugnant to Islam or not, would be decided by the National Assembly. Only a Muslim could be qualified for election as President. The President should set up an organisation for Islamic research and instruction in advanced studies to assist in the reconstruction of Muslims society on a truly Islamic basis. Teaching of the Holy Quran was to be made compulsory for Muslims. The purchase and sale of alcohol was banned and prostitution was prohibited.

No person should be compelled to pay any special tax, the proceeds of which were to be spent on the propagation of any religion other than his own. The state should endeavour to strengthen the bonds of unity among Muslim countries.[6]

The first martial law and the abrogation of the ConstitutionOn 7 October 1958, President Iskandar Mirza staged a coup

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