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Constitution of 1962
After the military coup of 1958, Ayub Khan waited for some time intending to pave the path of public opinion in his favor. A legislative commission was established in the leadership of Justice Shahaab-ud-din. The commission forwarded the report on 6th May 1961. Justice Manzoor Qadir designed and drafted the whole constitution. Ayub, bypassing a presidential ordinance, enacted the new constitution on 8th June 1962.
It had the following salient features:-
- It was in written form and had information about the state institutions and their mutual relations.
- The constitution was not passed with the consent of the elected representatives of the people. It was the creation or brainchild of a single person.
- 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 the 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 the 3/4th majority of the 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.
- 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.
- Unlike previous constitutions, the Indian Act 1935 and the constitution of 1956, it was presidential with all the executive powers resting with the president. He was the constitutional head of government and state.
- It was a unicameral system of government with only one house. The members of the National Assembly were elected by the basic democrats.
- 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 the president was not bound to the opinion or wishes of the Chief Justice.
- The constitution guaranteed the basic human rights for all the citizens of Pakistan without any discrimination of caste, 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 of all kinds of political rights and their representation in the legislation.