Pakistan Studies

Comparative Analysis of Pakistan’s Constitutions

Initial two constitutions were abrogated, 1973 contitution is still in function with more than 20 amendments

In this article, I will make a comparative analysis of the constitutions of Pakistan promulgated at different times.

Background

Since independence, Pakistan has witnessed three constitutions including the 1973 constitution which still is in action as law of the land. The first constitution was promulgated in 1956, the second in 1962, whereas 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 two years as 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 Ayub was in power. 

When Bhutto came to power in 1971, his government promulgated the 1973 constitution with the complete consent of the opposition parties in the parliament. 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

Similarities among the constitutions

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

  • a condition of being a Muslim above age 40 to become the head of the executive and state. 
  • 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. 
  • that Pakistan would be named the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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 on all-powerful with authority to choose members of National and provincial assemblies. The post of president would be symbolic. The Prime minister would be more powerful. The National Assembly would elect him. The president would act only with the advice of the Prime minister.
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 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 only President could nominate members of his cabinet and provincial assemblies from more than 80,000 Basic democracies. Like the 1956 constitution and unlike the 1962 constitution, the 1973 constitution provided that people will directly elect members of both national and provincial assemblies. 
No was no mention of Islam as the official religion of the state No mention of Islam as the official religion of the state Islam would be the official religion of the state.

 

Noor Akber

I am a social activist and educationist. I write on politics, culture, education and economy.

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2 Comments

  1. Sir, As of 2019, 25 amendments have been made to the Constitution of 1973. its not 21. kindly update the respective content.
    Secondly adult suffrage is 18 not 21….if i am not wrong

    1. Thank you Arshad Sahb, Feedback received with thanks and duly incorporated. We value feedback as it helps improve our services. Pls, keep visiting and giving feedback.

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