Monday, September 12, 2011

Constitution of 1962

Constitution of 1962

The Constitution of Second Republic was a comprehensive document, comprising 250 articles and three schedules. It did not have a representative character but was granted by one man.

Salient Features

1. Nature of the Constitution:
1962 Constitution of Pakistan, like the abrogated constitution, was a written constitution and consisted of a comparatively detailed document. This constitution was partly rigid and partly flexible. The National Assembly was authorized to amend the constitution by a two thirds majority with the concurrence of the president.

2. Federal System:
The introduction of federal system was a matter already decided in the Objectives Resolution. It was also adopted later under 1956 constitution and also retained by the Framers of the Constitution of the 2nd Republic. According to the pattern of division of powers, as chalked out in the constitution, the powers of the central government are enumerated and expressed in a list while all residuary powers belong to the provinces.

3. Presidential System:
Presidential for of government was enforced under 1962 constitution. Swift changes in the government and the subsequent political instability, before the imposition of martial law in 1958, had created chaos in t5he country. In view of this consideration, the Constitution Commission recommended presidential system in order to overcome political instability and enforce a firm socio-economic and political order.

4. Unicameral Legislature:
Under both 1st and 2nd republics, parity of representation between West and East Pakistan was secured within uni-cameralism, whereas seats in each of the provinces were allocated according to the ratio of population.

5. Indirect Election:
It was a general impression that one of the major causes regarding the failure of constitutional machinery during 1st Republic was the introduction of adult suffrage in isolation from adult education. The framers of 1962 Constitution envisaged indirect method of election for the Presidency and for the legislative assemblies.

6. Role of Judiciary:
In Pakistan, dual system of courts does not exist as there is a single series of judicial hierarchy with Supreme Court at the apex. Proper safeguards had been introduced under 1962 Constitution, to ensure the independence of judiciary.

7. Islamic Provisions:
Under 1956 Constitution of Pakistan, the state was declared as an Islamic Republic but in the original document of the 1962 Constitution, the word Islamic was deleted from the name of the Republic. This clearly indicates the underlying motive and the real spirit behind the constitution-making. It was due to severe popular reaction that the word “Islamic” was re-inserted.

8. Fundamental Rights:
The original document of the constitution did not include a list of fundamental rights. It was in the first amendment of the constitution in 1963, that these were included and made its part. The list of fundamental rights incorporated almost all the rights secured to its citizens by a modern state. It is worth remembering that public liberties become more secure when secured through constitution and made judiciable.

Failure of the Constitution of 1962

The period of President Ayub’s rule was a bit longer and outwardly appeared stable. But it was hollow from within as the political system was not based on political participation. The forces of disintegration continued to gain strength and ultimately the time approached when the people stood up against the government. The political parties were already active against the government and demanded the restoration of parliamentary system, direct elections and fundamental rights. The people of three provinces of West Pakistan, except Punjab, were against One Unit while most of the political parties also demanded its abolition. The critics of One Unit also joined hands with the forces of apposition to Ayub’s regime. Hence all the opponents of the government joined hands and organized demonstrations against the government. There were country-wide street demonstrations, with events of violence and terrorism, demanding the resignation of the government. Consequently, law and order situation deteriorated from bad to worst.

The political situation became more and more alarming and brought law and order situation at the verge of anarchy. President Ayub Khan announced the transfer of political authority to Yahya Khan, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, who imposed Martial Law on 25th of March 1969. All the legislative Assemblies were dissolved and the constitution abrogated.


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