Constitution is the supreme law of the land from which all public authorities derive their power. It sets out the frame work for governance and exercise of power of the state institutions and relationship between them. At the time of independence an interim constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly which was modified version of India Act 1935.The Objective resolution which contained guide lines for framing the constitution was approved by the Constitution Assembly on 12 March 1948.
Emphasis was on principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam. Prime Minister (PM),Liaquat Ali Khan headed the first Basic Principle Committee (BPC) formed the same day for framing the constitution. The committee submitted first report on 28 Sep 1950which was not approved mainly because it gave equal representation to both wings although East wing had more population than West and Urdu as the state language. Second draft was presented on22 Dec 1952 by PM, Khawaja Nazim ud Din (Liaquat Ali Khan had been assassinated on 15 Oct 1951). It proposed bicameral legislation, lower and upper houses to have equal representation (upper house 60 each and lower 200 each). This also came under criticism, because of equal seats of two wings, and Urdu as state language. Third draft was presented on 5 OCT 1953, by PM, Muhammad Ali Bogra, which is also known as Bogra formula. It compromised on disparity and proposed bicameral legislation. It proposed lower house on the basis of population total 300 seats (East Bengal165, remaining4 units of West Pak 135).Upper house of 52 seats, 10 each to 5 constituent units and 2 reserved for women. In the meantime a political development took place, provincial elections were held in East wing in March 1954. Muslim League secured only 10 seats (badly defeated).
The assembly passed a bill in Sep 1954 which made Governor General (GG) to act on the advice of the PM. It was also made mandatory for GG to appoint PM a member of assembly who enjoys the confidence of majority.GG, Ghulam Muhammad dissolved the assembly on 24 Oct 1954.The Supreme Court headed by Justice Muhammad Munir upheld the decision under the law of necessity. However Justice Cornelius wrote note of dissent. New Elections were held on 21 June 1955, to elect 40 members each from both wings.PM, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, took the task of constitution making. It was passed on 29 Feb 1956 to be effective from 23 March 1956.It was mainly based on government of India Act 1935, parliamentary form of government. The state was declared as Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It was unicameral legislation to be elected on the basis of parity between the two provinces. Just after about two years, President Iskander Mirza dissolved the assemblies, abrogated constitution and appointed Gen Ayub Khan C in C Army as Chief Martial Administrator (CMLA) on 7 Oct 1958.
Main reasons announced, were enhancement of corruption in society and constitution unworkable. On 17 Oct 1958 President Iskander Mirza resigned in favor of Gen Ayub Khan, later became President and CMLA. The Supreme Court headed by Justice Muhammad Munir again legitimized the Martial Law under the law of necessity and Justice Cornelius wrote the note of dissent as he did not agree that coup could be legally justified. Gen Ayub Khan appointed Commission in Feb 60 to frame constitution which was promulgated on 8 June 1962. It had Presidential form of government, federation to have two units, East and West Pakistan. There were 40,000 Basic Democracy (BD)members to be elected from each wing. BD members were Electoral College for the elections of president, members of national and provincial assemblies. Most powers with center. It was a unitary form of government. This constitution did not last very long, because the President became autocratic and less provincial autonomy.
The agitation started against the President Ayub Khan in late1968. He handed over powers to C-in C Army, Gen Agha Muhammad Yahyakhan who proclaimed Martial Law on 25 March 1969. As per constitution the Speaker of national assembly should have been handed over powers. This Martial Law was declared usurper by the Supreme Court. Justice, Hamood ur Rehman had written in Asma Jilani case (PLD 1972 SC 139) that Gen Yahya Khan had no authority to abrogate constitution of 1962 and impose Martial law. This was the first time that abrogating the constitution was declared unlawful. However, no action was taken against any one. After the fall of Dhaka on 16 Dec 1971, East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became President and CMLA on 20 Dec 71 and continued till15 April 1972 when the National Assembly adopted India Act of 1935 with amendments as an interim constitution. A committee of 25 members was formed to frame constitution and finally the National Assembly adopted constitution (commonly known as constitution of 73) with consensus on 11 April 1973.
Main features are, parliamentary form of government, president head of state and PM head of govt. It has bicameral legislation, lower house to have seats as per population and upper house equal seats of the 4 federating units. According to this constitution, the federal government shall have control and command of the Armed Forces and supreme command of Armed Forces shall vest in the President. The President shall on the advice of the PM appoint, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJSC), and services chiefs. The Armed forces shall, under the directions of the Federal Government defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war, and, subject to law, act in aid of civil power when called upon to do so. This constitution was also abrogated/ held in abeyance twice once on 5 July 1977 by Gen Zia ul Haq and on 12 October 1999 by Gen Musharraf. In both cases the decisions of Army chiefs were not only legalized by the Supreme Court, but also the Military Rulers were authorized to amend the constitution.
Gen Zia amended the constitution, besides other clauses included 58- 2b which gave discretionary powers to the President to sack the government and dissolve the assemblies. It is pertinent to mention that in parliamentary form of government president is head of state and has only his secretariat and no cabinet to advice. Applying this clause Gen Zia dismissed the government of PM, Muhammad Khan Junejo (23 Mar 85- 29 May 88). Using same clause President Ghulam Ishaque khanin the first tenure of Benazir Bhutto (2 Dec 88- 5 Aug 90)and later President Farooq Leghari in her second tenure (19 Oct 93-4 Nov 96) terminated her governments. President GhulamIshaque Khan sacked the first government of PM, Nawaz Sharif (6 Nov 90-17 Jul 93) and his second government (17 Feb 97-11 Oct 99) ended by coup of Gen Musharraf. The country had remained politically unstable as long as clause 58-2b was part of constitution. It was finally removed through 18th amendment on8 April 2010. The 71years history of Pakistan is full of constitutional turmoils.
The country has been governed by 4 constitutions (twice India Act 1935, 1956 &1962), 4 times military ruleand3 times elected governments were dismissed under clause 58-2b and now1973 is in vogue. It is pertinent to mention that India got independence with Pakistan in 1947,had adopted constitution on 19 November 1949 to come into force on 26 January 1950. It has never been abrogated or held in abeyance. We have made a lot of experiments to frame constitution and to run the government. Infect country has been mostly governed by hit and trials. Need of the hour is a politically stable government, with strong and independent pillars of the state, judiciary, legislation, and administration. All institutions of the country are required to be strengthened to work strictly in accordance with the constitution, rules, regulations and the oath taken by various authorities.