Compare and Contrast the Constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973

Compare and Contrast the Constitutions of 1956, 1962, ands 1973

PMS 2017 Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Papers | Compare and Contrast the Constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973

The following question of PMS Pakistan Affairs 2017 is solved by Ammar Hashmi under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni on the guided pattern of Sir Syed Kazim Ali, which he taught to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question Breakdown
The examiner has demanded to elaborate the points of comparison and contrast of all three constitutions of Pakistan, i.e., 1956, 1962, and 1973. Before touching on the exact requirement, it would be great to cast a spotlight on the prerequisites of the constitutions of Pakistan. These include the Government of India Act 1939 and the Objectives Resolution 1949. Moreover, while attempting this question, one must consider writing the causes of the failure of the 1956 and 1962 constitutions.

Outline

1- Introduction

2- History of constitution-making

  • ✓Government of India Act 1939
  • ✓The Objectives Resolution 1949

3- Comparison and contrast of three constitutions of Pakistan

  • ✓Salient features of the 1956 constitution
    • Consisted of 234 articles, 6 Schedules, and three lists of subjects.
    • The President was more powerful.
    • Parliamentary form of government with a unicameral legislature.
  • ✓Salient features of the 1962 constitution
    • Consisted of 250 articles, 3 Schedules, and two lists of subjects.
    • All the powers rested in the office of the President.
    • Presidential form of government with a unicameral legislature.
  • ✓Salient features of the 1973 constitution
    • Consisted of 280 articles, 7 Schedules, and two lists of subjects.
    • The president was made symbolic, and the prime minister was made more powerful.
    • Parliamentary form of government with a bicameral legislature.

4- Analysis of the main contrasting features of the three constitutions

5- Comparison of 1956, 1962, and 1973 constitutions

  • A two-thirds majority of the members of the parliament for any amendment.
  • Provision of fundamental rights to the citizens of Pakistan.
  • Legislation will be in alignment with Islamic laws.

6- Critical analysis

7- Conclusion

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Answer to the Question

Introduction

Constitution serves as the backbone of a state for the smooth functioning of its affairs. Thus, the first and foremost task of a state after its independence has always been the formulation of its Constitution. However, Pakistan formulated a constituent assembly to map out its future Constitution. But, owing to the confluence of issues, the authorities decided to implement the Government of India Act of 1935 as its interim Constitution. The constituent committee formulated the objective resolution in 1949 to be used as the base for the formulation of the future Constitution of the country. After a long delay of 9 years, Pakistan finally formulated its first Constitution in 1956. It introduced a parliamentary form of government, and the Presidential office was more powerful than that of the Prime minister. However, it failed within two years of its implementation due to issues like one-unit policy, unicameralism, and electoral issues. Furthermore, President Ayoub Khan formulated a new constitution, which came into force in 1962. It introduced a presidential form of government, and all the powers rested in the office of the President as there was no post of Prime Minister. But it failed to deliver and was abrogated in 1969 with the demise of General Ayoub Khan from the post of President. Moreover, after the separation of East Pakistan, the country adopted another constitution in 1973. It introduced a parliamentary form of government, and the Presidential office was made symbolic, with all the powers in the control of the Prime Minister. It provided the definition of Muslim and termed Qadiyanis as non-Muslims. Regardless of military coups, it has undergone a lot of amendments but is still in force in the country. On the other hand, regardless of differences, all three constitutions have something in common: only a Muslim can be the head of the state and the executive, and the name of the country is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This question focuses on the comparison and contrast of all three constitutions of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

History of Constitution-making

After gaining independence from its British rulers, a significant task for the authorities of Pakistan was to formulate its Constitution. But constitution-making is a tiresome task and has undergone various hurdles like equal share for east and west wings regardless of the population size. Moreover, the issue of declaring Urdu as a national language further derailed the process. Thus, the authorities implemented the Government of India Act of 1935 with some changes as the interim Constitution of Pakistan and the elected members from the 1946 elections were made part of the constituent assembly to formulate a proper constitution of the newborn state.

According to the founding father of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,

“It is the duty of the constituent assembly to make a constitution and I do not what will be its final shape. But one thing I know is it will be an Islamic constitution, and it will be based on the democratic principles of Islam. In my opinion, the democratic principles of Islam are as good and applicable to the present world as they were nine hundred years ago.”

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Moving further, the Objective Resolution of 1949 was a step in the right direction, providing a basic framework for the future Constitution of Pakistan. It stated that sovereignty belongs to Allah Almighty and Pakistan will be a democratic state with principles of Islamic democracy. Moreover, Pakistan will provide protection to religious minorities and will ensure the provision of fundamental rights to everyone. Also, Pakistan will be a federal state with autonomous units, and the judiciary will be independent in the country.

According to the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan,

 “The most important occasion in the life of this country next in importance only to the achievement of independence.”

Due to this importance, the objective resolution of 1949 was made a preamble of all three constitutions of Pakistan. However, through provisional order 14 in 1985, it was made an active part of the Constitution of 1973 and can be found as Article 2A of the 1973 constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Compare the Constitutions of 1956 1962 and 1973

All the constitutions of Pakistan have various differentiating features that make them stand out from the rest of the constitutions and become the cause of their failure as well. Thus, their salient features and the causes of their failure are as follows.

1- Salient features of the 1956 constitution

After a long delay of 9 years after the independence, Pakistan finally formulated its first Constitution in 1956. The draft came into force on March 23 1956, under the supervision of Prime Minister Choudhary Muhammad Ali. It consisted of 234 articles, 6 Schedules, and three lists of subjects, i.e., federal, provincial, and concurrent matters. In this Constitution, the President was more powerful. He can choose the Prime Minister from the National Assembly. He also had the power to dismiss the Prime Minister, the government, and the assembly. Moreover, it introduced a Parliamentary form of government with a unicameral legislature (comma) and a direct mode of election was introduced to elect the members of the assembly. Furthermore, there was no mention of the official religion of the state, and it didn’t provide any definition of a Muslim. In addition, Urdu and Bengali were declared as the national languages of Pakistan. Also, it mentioned 40 years as the minimum age for the President of Pakistan.

2- Salient features of the 1962 constitution

After the abrogation of the 1956 constitution by Iskandar Mirza, General Ayoub Khan assumed charge of the country and started preparing for a new constitution. The new Constitution was finally rolled out on June 8 1962, across the country. It consisted of 250 articles, 3 Schedules, and two lists of subjects, i.e., central and provincial. In this Constitution, all the powers rested in the office of the President. It did not provide the post of Prime Minister and President was all-powerful with the authority to dismiss the national and provincial assemblies. Moreover, it introduced a Presidential form of government with a unicameral legislature and an indirect mode of election was introduced to elect the members of the assembly. Political parties were banned, and basic Democrats would act as an electoral college for the election of the President in the national and provincial assemblies. Furthermore, there was no mention of the official religion of the state, and it didn’t provide any definition of a Muslim. In addition, Urdu and Bengali were declared as the national languages of Pakistan. Also, it mentioned 35 years as the minimum age for the President of Pakistan.

3- Salient features of the 1973 constitution

After the resignation of Ayoub Khan from the post of President in 1969, General Yahya Khan assumed the charge of the country. Soon, the political scenario took a drastic turn and ended with the separation of East Pakistan. After that, the civil martial law administrator Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto assumed charge of the country and developed a new constitution. The new Constitution was enforced in the country on August 14 1973, with the consent of all the political stakeholders. It consisted of 280 articles, 7 Schedules, and two lists of subjects, i.e., federal and concurrent. In this Constitution, the post of President was made symbolic. He/she can act only with the advice of the prime minister. The prime minister was made more powerful and was elected by the national assembly. Moreover, it introduced a Parliamentary form of government with a bicameral legislature and introduced both a direct and an indirect mode of election. The masses were given the power to elect their representatives through direct elections for the national and provincial assemblies, and then those elected representatives elect the prime minister and chief ministers. Furthermore, it mentioned Islam as the official religion of the state and provided the definition of a Muslim and Qadiyanis were labelled as non-Muslims. In addition, Urdu was declared as the national language of Pakistan. Also, it mentioned 45 years as the minimum age for the President of Pakistan.

Analysis of the main contrasting features of three constitutions

Constitution of 1962 introduced a new institution supreme judicial council.  1956 Constitution1962 Constitution1973 Constitution
Enforcement and validity dateIt came into force on March 23 1956, and remained valid till October 7, 1958.It came into force on June 8, 1962, and remained valid till March 25, 1969.It came into force on August 14, 1973, and is valid till date.  
Number of articles and schedulesIt consisted of 234 articles and 6 SchedulesIt consisted of 250 Articles and 3 SchedulesIt consisted of 280 articles and 7 Schedules
List of SubjectsIt contained three lists of subjects, i.e., federal, Provincial and concurrent matters.It provided only two lists of subjects, i.e., central and provincial.  Two lists were given in the Constitution: Federal and Concurrent lists.
Supreme judicial councilThere was no such institution in the constitution of 1956.Constitution of 1962 introduced a new institution Supreme Judicial Council.  The constitution of 1962 introduced a new institution Supreme Judicial Council.  
Powers of PM and PresidentThe president was more powerful. He can choose the Prime Minister from the National Assembly. He also had the power to dismiss the PM, the government, and the assembly.It did not provide the post of Prime Minister. The president was all-powerful, with the authority to dismiss the national and provincial assemblies.The post of President was made symbolic. He/she would act only with the advice of the prime minister. The prime minister would be more powerful and elected by the national assembly.
Form of governmentIt introduced a Parliamentary form of government.It introduced a Presidential form of government.It introduced a Parliamentary form of government.
Form of legislatureIt provided One house parliament/unicameral legislature.  It provided a unicameral legislature called the National Assembly.  There would be a two-house parliament (bicameral) consisting of the Senate (upper house) and National Assembly (lower house).
Mode of electionPeople will directly elect members of the national assembly.Basic Democrats would act as an electoral college for the election of the President, the national and provincial assemblies.Both direct and indirect election mode was introduced. People would directly elect members of both national and provincial assemblies and the PM will be elected through their votes.
National languageUrdu and Bengali were declared as National languages.Urdu and Bengali were declared as National languages.Only Urdu was declared as the national language.
Definition of a MuslimThere was no provision about the definition of a Muslim.There was no provision regarding the definition of a Muslim.Provision of the definition of a Muslim and Qadiyanis were declared non-Muslims.
Official religion of the stateThere was no mention of Islam as the official religion of the state. It did not mention Islam is the official religion of the state. Islam would be the official religion of the state.
Islamic InstitutionNo Islamic institution was established in the 1956 constitution.Two Islamic institutions, i.e., the Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology and Islamic Research Institution, were established under the 1962 constitution.Council of Islamic Ideology and federal Shriah courts were established under the 1973 constitution.
Sovereignty of Allah AlmightyThere was no mention of the Sovereignty of Allah Almighty in the 1956 constitution.There was no mention of the Sovereignty of Allah Almighty in the 1962 constitution.Sovereignty belongs to Allah Almighty was mentioned in the 1973 constitution.
Teaching of Holy QuranThere was no emphasis on the teaching of the Holy Quran in the 1956 constitution.There was no emphasis on the teaching of the Holy Quran in the 1962 constitution.Emphasis on the teaching of the Holy Quran was made in the Constitution of 1973.
Publication of QuranThere was no mention of the publication of the Quran in the 1956 constitution.There was no mention of the publication of the Quran in the 1962 constitution.An objective was set for the error-free publication of the Quran in the 1973 constitution.
Concept of referendumNo concept of referendum was introduced in the 1956 constitution.The concept of referendum was introduced in the 1962 constitution.The president was given the authority to hold a referendum on any issue.
Minimum age limit for the PresidentThe minimum age limit for the President should be at least 40 years.The minimum age limit for the President should be at least 35 years.The minimum age limit for the President should be at least 45 years.

Comparison of 1956, 1962, and 1973 constitutions

Along with the differences, all three constitutions have various similarities, too. Like all three constitutions were written constitutions, all of them demanded a two-third majority of the members of the parliament for any amendment, and a federal system of government was introduced in the country in the wake of all three constitutions. Moreover, all three constitutions provided fundamental rights to the citizens of Pakistan, mentioned that elections would be held according to universal suffrage, and Objectives Resolution of 1949 was made a preamble of every Constitution. Furthermore, in terms of Islamic provisions, Pakistan was termed to be an Islamic republic and mentioned that all the legislation would be in alignment with Islamic laws and laws repugnant to Islam would be repealed. In addition, the name of the state was mentioned as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (except in the 1962 constitution, in which it was renamed after amendment); only a Muslim can be the head of the state and the executive, and Riba will be abolished. Also, the state of Pakistan will maintain friendly relations with Muslim countries.

Critical analysis

Pakistan formulated three constitutions in its history, and the third one, being the most successful, has just completed its golden jubilee (50 years). But still, there are various problems that still exist in our constitutional setup. The first one is the distribution of resources in the form of the NFC awards. It was constituted to distribute the resources among the provinces in an equitable manner, but still, a major proportion is allocated with respect to the percentage of the population, neglecting all other significant parameters. If the peanut-sized budget is allocated to a province, how will it progress along with other provinces? The same case of inequitable sharing of resources and opportunities was with East Pakistan before its separation. So, the problem is still persistent regardless of a new constitution. Second, it is open to multiple interpretations, and one can interpret it according to his/her wants. One open example of such interpretation is the disqualifications of the democratically elected prime ministers. Any senior member of the judiciary can interpret it according to his desires and can disqualify a sitting prime minister of the country. The same was the case with the 1956 and 1962 constitutions, in that the judiciary could mould the laws according to the will of the then rulers. So, again, the same problem is still there in a different form. Third, the doctrine of necessity validated the extraordinary actions by the authorities badly impacted the political culture in the 20th century. Nowadays, the same is happening again to suppress the opponents without the name of this doctrine. Last, like the constitutions of 1956 and 1962, the Constitution of 1973 also provided fundamental rights, like freedom of speech, to the citizens of Pakistan. But deep down, during the era of all three constitutions, these fundamental rights were curbed in one way or the other. During Ayoub Khan’s era, he followed the suppression policy to curb the freedom of expression of the masses against him, and in the current era, PEMRA and other legal bodies perform the same job in a systematic manner. Thus, the problem is still persistent in a very much modernized form. However, the 18th amendment is regarded as a huge success in the political history of Pakistan in terms of devolution of powers to the provinces, but still, further devolution to the local government setup is the need of the hour to achieve administrative success in Pakistan.

Conclusion

Conclusively, it can be stated that both the Constitution of 1956 and 1962 failed to address the grievances of the public at that time, but the 1973 Constitution filled the gap in a much better way. It improved the mistakes of the previous constitutions and provided the masses with their due rights. Although military coupes have significantly altered the Constitution and cast the shadow of undemocratic norms through various constitutional amendments, they are still applicable in today’s world. But, as the world is changing rapidly, the authorities need to adopt the constitutional changes at a similar pace to cope with the developing world.

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