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Dissolution of the 1st Constituent Assembly

Pro-US Governor General, Ghulam Muhammad, and Prime Minister, Muhammad Ali Bogra, were moving well and in a cooperative way. Both had a mission to bring Pakistan in the Western camp. However, they were afraid of the ever increasing popularity of the anti-US and anti-establishment forces in the country, especially in East Bengal. Victory of United Front in the 1954 provincial assembly elections appeared as a threat to their intentions. The members of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan had openly started criticizing the attempts to bring Pakistan closer to the United States. In a statement issued on September 22, Fazlur Rahman, the formal federal minister, alleged that the proposed Pak-US cooperation would ‘seriously jeopardize the political and economic interests of Pakistan and it would ultimately result in the colonization of the country by America. On his initiative the assembly decided to send a trade delegation to Soviet Union with an idea to bring the two countries closer.


Furthermore, the Constituent Assembly was not happy with the ever increasing role of the Governor-General and day to day affairs of the government. They also disliked the power of the Governor-General to dissolve the government. When Ghulam Muhammad was on an official tour of NWFP, the CAP amended the constitution and snatched away his discretionary power under which he had dismissed Nazimuddin’s government. Ghulam Muhammad cut short his tour and immediately retuned back to Karachi. On his return he first of all tried to win over important politicians including Ayub Khuhro, Mumtaz Daultana, Fazlul Haq and Dr. Khan Sahib etc. and then took Ayub Khan into confidence. Once he was sure that he had the backing of the people who matter on October 24 he dissolved the CAP on the ground that it had lost the confidence of the people of Pakistan. He imposed press censorship and promised fresh elections. Bogra, the Prime Minister of the dissolved assembly endorsed the move and declared CAP was responsible for imperiling national unity by provoking personal, sectional and provincial rivalries and suspicion. He was made the Prime Minister of the Cabinet which used back door to gain power.


Maulvi Tamizuddin Case

Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, the president of the dissolved CAP did not submit to the idea and along with other members tried to hold the already scheduled session of the assembly on October 28. When they were not allowed to enter the assembly hall, on November 7 he filled a writ in the Sindh Chief Court against the action of the Governor-General. On February 9, 1955, a full bench of the Sindh Chief Court gave verdict in favour of Maulvi Tamizuddin and ordered that the Governor-General had no power to dissolve the CAP. After the ruling, Maulvi Tamizuddin called the meeting of the CAP on March 7. Bogra, after consulting Ghulam Muhammad, who was in Paris at that time for his medical treatment, decided to challenge the decision in the Federal Court. Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Justice Muhammad Munir, assured the government that the judgment of the Sindh Court would be reverted. The Federal Court, working according to doctrine of necessity, did not go into the question, whether the CAP was legally dissolved or not. Rather, they rejected the writ on technical ground that Section 233A under which the writ had been issued in favour of Maulvi Tamizuddin was not yet law since it had not received the assent of the Governor-General. One member of the five member bench, Justice A.R. Cornelius held that the assent of the Governor General was not required for constitutional Act and believed that they decision of the Sindh Chief Court should be upheld. The history of Pakistan would have been different, had the voice of Justice Cornelius be heard by the other four judges of the bench.

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