Pakistan Studies

Comparative Analysis of Pakistan’s Constitutions (1956, 1962 & 1973)

This article presents a comparative analysis of the constitutions of Pakistan promulgated at different times under different rulers. 


The first constitution was promulgated in 1956, the second in 1962, and the third and current constitution in 1973.  As per the date of their promulgation, they are called the 1956 constitution, the 1962 constitution, and the 1973 Constitution respectively.

The 1956 Constitution lasted only for a couple of years and a few months as the then-president Iskandar Mirza abrogated it by imposing the first Martial Law in the country. After four years of his rule, Field Marshal Ayub Khan introduced the 1962 Constitution which remained enforced as long as he was in power. 

When Bhutto came to power in 1971, his government promulgated the 1973 constitution with the complete consent of the opposition parties. Despite military coups and a number of amendments by military rulers, the 1973 constitution stills act as the constitution of Pakistan.

Comparison of all three constitutions of Pakistan

Following are the similarities and differences found among all three constitutions framed and promulgated in the country at different times under different rulers. 

1. Similarities among the constitutions

All the three constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973 provided: 

  • only a Muslim would be the head of the state and the executive;
  • legislation in alignment with Islamic laws and repealing of laws repugnant to Islam; 
  • Objectives Resolution 1949 as part of the preamble;
  • elections on basis of Universal suffrage and;
  • that Pakistan would be named the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

2. Differences among 1956, 1962, and 1973 constitutions 

1956 constitution

1962 constitution

1973 constitution

  • President would be more powerful. He could choose Prime Minister from National Assembly.
  • He would also have the power to dismiss PM, the government, and the assembly.
  • It did not provide the post of PM.
  • President was all-powerful with the authority to dismiss the national and provincial assemblies.
  • The post of president would be 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. 
  • It provided the parliamentary form of government.
  • It provided the presidential form of government
  • Like that of 1956 constitution, it also provided a  parliamentary form of government
  • It provided One house parliament/unicameral legislature.
  • There would be only a national assembly.
  • It provided a unicameral legislature called National Assembly.
  • There would be two-house parliament consisting of the Senate (upper house) and National Assembly (Lower House).
  • Urdu and Bengali were declared as National languages
  • Urdu and Bengali were declared as national languages
  • Only Urdu was declared as the national language as Bengali-speaking East Pakistan had seceded from  West Pakistan.
  • There was no provision with regard to the definition of a Muslim.
  • No provision regarding the definition of a Muslim
  • Provision of the definition of a Muslim.
  • Under this definition, Qadiyanis were declared non-Muslims in Pakistan.
  • It provided that people will directly elect members of the national assembly. 
  • It provided that Basic Democrats would act as an electoral college for the election of the president, the national and provincial assemblies. 
  • Like the 1956 constitution and unlike the 1962 constitution, the 1973 constitution provided that people would directly elect members of both national and provincial assemblies. 
  • Unlike the 1973 constitution, there was no mention of Islam as the official religion of the state. 
  • It also did not mention religion Islam as the official religion of the state
  • Islam would be the official religion of the state.
  • The minimum age limit for the president would be 40 years. 
  • The minimum age limit for the president would be 35 years.
  • The minimum age limit for the president would be 45 years. 


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