The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: آئین پاکستان), also known as the 1973 Constitution, is the supreme law of Pakistan. Drafted by the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, with additional assistance from the country's opposition parties, it was approved by the Parliament on 10 April and ratified on 14 August 1973.
The Constitution is intended to guide Pakistan's law, its political culture, and system. It identifies the state (its physical existence and its borders), people and their fundamental rights, state's constitutional law and orders, and also the constitutional structure and establishment of the institutions and the country's armed forces. The first three chapters establish the rules, mandate, and separate powers of the three branches of the government: a bicameral legislature; an executive branch governed by the Prime Minister as chief executive; and an apex federal judiciary headed by Supreme Court. The Constitution designates the President of Pakistan as a ceremonial Head of State who is to represent the unity of the state. The first six articles of the constitution outline the political system as federalparliamentary republic system; as well as Islam as its state religion. The Constitution also encapsulates provisions stipulating the legal system's compliance with Islamic injunctions contained in the Quran and Sunnah.
The Parliament cannot make any laws which may be repugnant or contrary to the Constitution, however the Constitution itself may be amended by a two-thirds majority in both the houses of the bicameral Parliament, unlike the previous legal documents of 1956 and 1962. It has been amended over time, and most recent impulses for political upgrades and reforms has been amended. Although enforced in 1973, Pakistan, however, celebrates the adoption of the constitution on 23 March—when the first set was promulgated in 1956—each and every year as Republic Day.
In a radio talk addressed to the people of Pakistan, broadcast in February 1948, Jinnah expressed his views regarding Pakistan's constitution-to-be in the following way:
The Constitution of Pakistan is yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, I do not know what the ultimate shape of the constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today these are as applicable in actual life as these were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan.
Pakistan was founded in 1947 as a Dominion (an independent realm or kingdom) within the British Commonwealth. The same was true in independent India. During its first few years of existence the British monarch was also Pakistan's head of state, as is still the case in Canada, Australia etc. Before writing a constitution, a Constituent Assembly passed the Objectives Resolution, on the insistence of the ulama and Jamaat-e-Islami, in March 1949 to define the basic directive principles of the new state and to declare state recognition of the sovereignty of Allah over the universe. The Objectives Resolution affirmed the role of democracy and contained religious provisions to enable society to adhere to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. The Objectives Resolution has henceforth been inserted as a preamble into each of Pakistan's subsequent constitutions.
The country became a republic when its first constitution was approved in 1956 but this was abrogated in 1958 after a military Coup d'état. Pakistan's second constitution was approved in 1962. It granted executive power to the president and abolished the office of the prime minister. It also institutionalised the intervention of military in politics by providing that for twenty years, the president or the defence minister must be a person who had held a rank not lower than that of lieutenant-general in the army. The 1962 constitution was suspended in 1969 and abrogated in 1972.
The 1973 constitution was the first in Pakistan to be framed by elected representatives. Unlike the 1962 constitution it gave Pakistan a parliamentary democracy with executive power concentrated in the office of the prime minister, and the formal head of state—the president—limited to acting on the advice of the prime minister.
Following the adoption of a constitution in India in 1950, Pakistan's lawmakers were incentified to work on their constitution. Prime Minister Muhammad Ali and his government officials worked with the opposition parties in the country to formulate a constitution for Pakistan.
Finally, the joint work led to the promulgation of the first set of the constitution on 23 March 1956—a day when Pakistan celebrates its Republic Day over the adoption of the constitution. The constitution provided for parliamentary form of government with a unicameral legislature. It officially adopted Pakistan as "Islamic Republic" and the principle of parity was introduced. Its features were:
The military government and President Yahya himself made no efforts to frame a constitution, aside from issuing the extrajudicial order in 1970. Across the country, the expectations were that a National Assembly would be set up by holding a free and fair election. To hold the proposed elections, President Yahya 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.
Constitutional crises grew further when the AL refused to make concessions over its six points to draft the constitution and instead maintaining that the AL was able to frame a constitution and to form a central government on its own.
The PPP was not willing to dilute the authority of the federal government in spite of assuring full provincial autonomy for all the provinces of Pakistan. Negotiations on framing the work on constitution were held between January and March 1971 between leaders of the PPP, the AL, and the military government of Yahya Khan, which turned out to be a failure. Under the LFO, the President was to decide when the National Assembly was to meet. By 13 February 1971, the President Yahya announced that the National Assembly was to meet at Dhaka on 3 March 1971. By this time the differences between the main parties to the conflict had already crystallized. Over the six-point issue, the PPP was convinced that a federation based on the six points would lead to a feeble confederation in name only and was part of a larger Indian plan to break up and destroy Pakistan. These fears were evidently shared by the military leaders in the west, including President Yahya Khan who had publicly described Sheikh Mujibur Rehman as the 'future Prime Minister of Pakistan' on 14 January 1971. 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. Sheikh Mujib replied at a press conference on 21 February, asserting that "Our stand is absolutely clear. The constitution will be framed on the basis of the six points".
Such an announcement led the PPP to demand the removal of the National Assembly session, or the opening session to be postponed. The PPP threatened to stage a large scale general strike all over the country. Under pressure by the PPP, President Yahya postponed the National Assembly session on 25 March which came as a shattering disillusionment to the AL and their supporters throughout East Pakistan. It was seen as a betrayal and as proof of the authorities of the Pakistan to deny them the fruits of their electoral victory. This resulted in the outbreak of violence in East Pakistan. The Awami League launched a non-co-operation movement as they virtually controlled the entire province. Due to disturbances in East Pakistan, no National Assembly session was called and the military moved into East Pakistan to control the situation. The civil disobedience movement turned into an armed liberation movement backed by India.
The law experts, constitutional analysts, and country's reputed clergymen worked on formulating a constitution that they hoped would represent the will and desire of people. Unlike earlier attempts, the convention was not meant for new laws or piecemeal alterations, but for the "sole and express purpose of revising the 1956 articles." Also, the convention was not limited to the religion, exigencies of government and the preservation of the State; rather it was intended to maintain delicacy in commerce, finances, issue of loans to federation, and Separation of powers. Several key ideas of the philosophy of John Locke and Islamic provisions on civil rights were interchanged in the Constitution.
The due process clause of the Constitution was partly based on the British Common law, as many founding fathers and legal experts of the country had followed the British legal tradition. The fundamental rights are supreme in the Constitution and any law that is ultra vires the fundamental rights can be struck down by the apex courts in their constitutional jurisdiction vested on them under Article 199 of the Constitution.
In contrast to the constitutions of India and Bangladesh, the Constitution reflected a heavy compromise over several issues to maintain a delicate balance of power among the country's institutions. The Constitution defined the role of Islam; Pakistan was to be a Federation of Four Provinces and shall be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; introduction of check and balances, separation of powers, and provided the federal system under which the government should governed.
The Constitution established a "BicameralParliament" as a legislative authority that consists of the Senate as Upper house (providing equal provincial representation), and National Assembly as Lower house (providing the will and representation of people). The Constitution put stipulation on the eligibility of becoming President and Prime Minister that only "Muslim" of not less than forty-five years of age and is qualified for becoming the Prime Minister. No law repugnant to Islam shall be enacted and the present laws shall also be Islamised. The Constitution also introduced a new institution known as the "Council of Common Interests" consisting of Chief Minister of each four provinces and an equal number of Cabinet ministers of the 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 innovative introduction in the Constitution is the establishment of the National Finance Commission (NFC) consisting of the Provincial and Finance Ministers and other members to advice on distribution of revenues between the federation and the provinces. The Constitution's first parts introduce the Islamic way of life, promotion of local government, 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.
Enabling of living life, culture, and customs of Muslims, individually or collectively, in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam.
Teachings on Arabic, Quran, and Islamiyat to be compulsory in country's institutions and to secure correct and exact printing and publishing of the Quran.
Proper organisations of Zakat, Waqf, and mosques is ensured.
Prevent prostitution, gambling and consumption of alcohol, printing, publication, circulation, pornography, and display of obscene literature and advertisements.
Required to be a Muslim to run for bid of becoming the President (male or female) and/or 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 Quran and Sunnah and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such injunctions.
The Constitution of Pakistan defined a Muslim as a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood 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.
Unlike the previous documents, the Constitution cannot be changed, instead constitutional amendments are passed; altering its effect. Amendments to the Constitution are made through the Parliament, where a Two-thirds majority and voting is required in both houses for a constitutional amendment to take its effect, in accordance to the Constitution. In addition to this, certain amendments which pertain to the federal nature of the Constitution must be ratified by a majority of state legislatures.
As of 2019, 25 amendments have been made to the Constitution. Among the most important of these are the Eighth (1985) and Seventeenth Amendments (2004), which changed the government from a parliamentary system to a semi-presidential system. By far the largest change to the Constitution was the Eighteenth Amendment made in 2010 which reversed these expansions of presidential powers, returning the government to a parliamentary republic, and also defined any attempt to subvert, abrogate, or suspend the constitution as an act of high treason.
Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust;
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;
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 practise 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;
Therein 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 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 :
Now, therefore, we, the people of Pakistan,
Cognisant of our responsibility before Almighty Allah and men;
Cognisant of the sacrifices made by the people in the cause of Pakistan;
Faithful to the declaration made by the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, 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;
Inspired by the resolve to protect our national and political unity and solidarity by creating an egalitarian society through a new order;
Do hereby, through our representatives in the National Assembly, adopt, enact and give to ourselves, this Constitution.
All of the MNAs (full list) signed the Constitution except Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri, Dr. Abdul Hayee Baloch, Abdul Khaliq Khan, Haji Ali Ahmed Khan, and Nizamuddin Haider.Sahibzada Muhammad Nazeer Sultan is currently the last serving member of the National Assembly who was also elected as the Member of National Assembly in the 1970 elections & was one of the last signatories of 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
^Hussain, Rizwan. Pakistan. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Archived from the original on 29 March 2016. The first important result of the combined efforts of the Jamāʿat-i Islāmī and the ʿulamāʿ was the passage of the Objectives Resolution in March 1949, whose formulation reflected compromise between traditionalists and modernists. The resolution embodied "the main principles on which the constitution of Pakistan is to be based." It declared that "sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God 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," that "the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed," and that "the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accord with the teaching and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Qurʿan and Sunna." The Objectives Resolution has been reproduced as a preamble to the constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973.
^ abIslamization of Laws and Economy, Case Studies on Pakistan by Charles Kennedy (Institute of Policy Studies, The Islamic Foundation, 1996, p.85)
^Diamantides, Marinos; Gearey, Adam (2011). Islam, Law and Identity. Routledge. p. 198. ISBN978-1-136-67565-2. The 1973 constitution also created certain institutions to channel the application and interpretation of Islam: the Council of Islamic Ideology and the Shariat Court.
^This was the system that had merged all the provinces of West Pakistan into one unit. General Yahya restored autonomy of the old provinces of Sindh, the Punjab, and the North West Frontier Province and created the new province of Baluchistan.
^ abcSiddiqui, Tariq Moin (21 July 2013). "Constitution of Pakistan". GEO Documentary (GEO News area studies). GEO Television Network. GEO Television Network. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2014.