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Constitution of 1962

After the military coup of 1958, Ayub Khan waited for some time with the intention of paving public opinion in his favour. A legislative commission was established under the leadership of Justice Shahaab-ud-din. The commission forwarded a report on 6th May 1961. Justice Manzoor Qadir designed and drafted the entire constitution. Ayub Khan with the help of a presidential ordinance enacted the new constitution on 8th June 1962. It had the following salient features:-

  1. It was in written form and had the information about the state institutions and their mutual relations.
  2. The constitution was not passed by the consent of the elected representatives of the people. It was the creation or brain child of a single person.
  3. The constitution was president friendly; making amendments was easy only if supported and endorsed by the president or it was a very lengthy and difficult job. For making any amendment, the 2/3rd majority of the assembly had to pass the bill and then had to send it to the president. If president did not take up any objection for thirty days, the amendment was considered valid. However, the president might disapprove or send back the resolution with certain alterations. In that case, it was needed to gain the consent of 3/4th majority of assembly. The president had to give consent in ten days or had to propagate it for the opinion of Basic Democrats. In that case, the opinion of the B.D’S was considered final.
  4. Apparently, it was a federal system of government with East Pakistan and West Pakistan as its units. The constitution contained the list of only federal authorities, the rest were given to the federating units. The center had the authority to intervene in the provincial matters if considered necessary.
  5. Unlike previous constitutions, the Indian Act 1935 and constitution of 1956, it was presidential in its nature with all the executive powers resting with the president. He was the constitution head of government and state.
  6. It was a unicameral system of government with only one house. The members of the National Assembly were elected by the basic democrats.
  7. The judiciary was kept independent to the extent of theory. All the judges of the High courts had to be selected and appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice. But president was not bound to the opinion or wishes of the Chief Justice.
  8.  The constitution guaranteed the basic human rights for all the citizens of Pakistan without any discrimination of cast, creed and color.

The constitution of 1962 was a one man show. It was designed for a single man. Apparently it gave many rights and securities to the people but actually it deprived the people from all kinds of political rights and their representation in the legislation.

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