EducationPakistan Studies

Salient features of 1962 Constitution

The Second Constitution of Pakistan

This post describes the salient features of the 1962 constitution of Pakistan. The post also contains a link for a quiz at the end of the post to assess what you learned from this post. 

Background

Pakistan adopted its first constitution in 1956 which hardly remained enforced for two and half years. President Iskandar Mirza in a politically blatant move dismissed the government and national assembly on 7th October 1958 by imposing Martial Law in the country under the command of General Ayub Khan. Twenty days after the imposition of martial law on 27th October 1958 Ayub Khan forced Iskandar Mirza to resign and exiled him to London.

After four years of his rule in the country, Ayub Khan introduced the second constitution of Pakistan on first March 1962.

What were the main features of the 1962 constitution of Pakistan?

The main points of the constitution are as follows: 

1. Incorporation of Objectives Resolution

The preamble of the 1962 constitution contained the Objectives Resolution 1949. The objectives Resolution contained objectives for constitution-making in Pakistan. 

2. Provision of the federal system

The constitution provided a federal form of government with two provinces i.e. East Pakistan, West Pakistan.  Like that of the 1956 constitution, the second constitution also provided for the One-Unit formula and parity of representation at the center.  

3. The Islamic Republic 

Like that of the 1st constitution (1956 constitution), the 1962 constitution also proclaimed Pakistan as the Islamic Republic.  

4. Presidential form of Government

According to the 1962 constitution, it would be a presidential form of government in Pakistan.  The president would be the head of the executive as well as the head of the state. He would be elected by an electoral college of 80,000 basic democrats for a tenure of 5 years.

5. Powers of the president

  • The president enjoyed the power to issue ordinances that would take the shapes of law.
  • No court and legislature would challenge presidential orders. 
  • The president could appoint and remove ministers and provincial governors
  • The president could veto any law made by the national assembly
  • Only a citizen of Pakistan with an age over 35 years would be eligible for the post of president.

6. Provision of parity of Representation at the center

  • According to the constitution, the central assembly (national assembly) would contain an equal number of representatives both from East and West Pakistan.
  • There would be a total of 300 national assembly members, 150 from each unit.

7. One House Parliament 

  • The 1962 Constitution provided unicameral legislature/one House Parliament at the center (the National Assembly) with an equal number of representatives from each province.
  • The members for the national assembly would come through indirect election among 80, 000 Basic Democrats for a tenure of 5 years.

8. Provincial Legilature 

Each province would have its own legislature indirectly elected by the Basic Democrats of the respective provinces. The executive head of the province would be the governor appointed by the president of the country.

9. Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology

The constitution provided for the setting up of an Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology. The officials and members of the council would be appointed by the president. The council would recommend and the government sees lawmaking is in accordance with Islam.

10. Provision of fundamental rights 

The constitution did not mention the fundamental rights of the citizens initially. They were incorporated as part of the constitution later on as a result of public protest and agitation. 

11. Amendments 

The national assembly could make any amendment to the constitution but that was subject to the endorsement of the president. The president could veto any amendment or legislation made by the national assembly. However, the constitution also provided that the national assembly could challenge any presidential decree. In such a case,  the Basic Democrats would give a final decision. The basic democrats, being under the control of bureaucrats could not make any decision against the president. 

12. Role of Judiciary

According to the constitution, the role of the judiciary would be to interpret laws and give judgments in accordance with the constitution. 

Noor Akber

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

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