Salient Features of 1962 Constitution of Pakistan

Introduction to 1962 Constitution of Pakistan:

The 1956 Constitution was abrogated by Muhammad Ayub Khan and Martial Law was enforced in the country in 1958 and Muhammad Ayub Khan became the head of the state. In 1956 Constitution a Parliamentary form of Government was introduced. As a new constitution was required to run the country, the 1962 Constitution came into existence which introduced the Presidential form of Government. But this form of Government failed as there arose a political crisis in the Country which led to the abrogation of the 1962 Constitution. The third Constitution, the 1973 Constitution was enforced on the 14th of August 1973 which introduced a Parliamentary form of Government. Here we will discuss the salient features of the 1962 constitution of Pakistan in detail.

Salient Features of 1962 Constitution of Pakistan:

The following were the salient features of 1962 Constitution of Pakistan:-

(I) Written Constitution:

The 1962 Constitution of Pakistan was a written Constitution, which consisted of 250 Articles, 12 Parts, and 5 Schedules.

(II) Rigid Constitution:

The 1962 Constitution of Pakistan was a rigid Constitution. After the passage of the Bill by votes not less than two-thirds of the total membership it was sent for Presidential assent.

(III) Presidential Form of Government:

The 1962 Constitution of Pakistan provided a Presidential form of government. The President was not only head of the state but was also head of the Government and he was the sole authority to appoint ministers and judges and other officials. The members of the cabinet were appointed by him and they remained in office at the pleasure of the President.

(IV) Unicameralism:

The 1962 Constitution also provided unicameralism. The Parliament consisted of only one house known as National Assembly. The Parliament consisted of the President and the National Assembly.

(V) Direct Election:

The 1962 Constitution also provided a direct method of election for the members of the Electoral College.

(VI) Electoral College:

The directly elected members of the Electoral College elected the President. Hence the 1962 Constitution of Pakistan provided an indirect election of the President.

(i) COMPOSITION OF ELECTORAL COLLEGE:

The Electoral College consisted of, 120,000 basic democrats.

(VII) Fundamental Rights:

Originally, the 1962 Constitution of Pakistan did not provide fundamental rights. However, it was through an amendment that they were made part of the Constitution. The Supreme Court was responsible for the enforcement and could declare any law or order as null and void if it was against fundamental rights.

(i) Important Fundamental Rights:

Some of the important fundamental rights in The 1962 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were as follows:-

  • Security of person
  • Safeguards as to arrest and detention
  • Slavery, forced labor, etc prohibited
  • Protection against retrospective punishment
  • Freedoms of assembly freedom of association
  • Freedom of speech and movement
  • Equality of citizens
  • Nondiscrimination in access to public places

(VIII) National Languages:

The 1962 Constitution also provided that Bengali and Urdu were National Languages.

(IX) Islamic Provisions:

The 1962 Constitution also provided Islamic provisions. Sovereignty belongs to Allah and no law should be made, which was against Islam. The President was required to be Muslim.

(X) Extraordinary Powerful President:

The President of Pakistan under the 1962 Constitution of Pakistan exercised extraordinary powers. He was the real head of the state as well as the government. He could appoint any minister and remove him any time he wished. All the laws made by the Parliament required the assent of the President in order to become law. He enjoyed the extensive executive powers.

(XI) Emergency Provisions:

The 1962 Constitution of Pakistan provided emergency provisions. The President had the power to proclaim an emergency when the integrity of the sovereignty of Pakistan was threatened.

(XII) Limited Provincial Autonomy:

One of the major causes of the failure of the 1962 Constitution of Pakistan was that the autonomy of the provinces was curtailed. The Centre enjoyed more powers. All the ministers and Governors were appointed by the President and they held their offices at the pleasure of the President. The Centre could interfere in the affairs of the provinces.

(XIII) Directive Principles of Policy:

The 1962 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, provided the principles of policy in Part III.

(i) Important Principles of Policy:

Some of the important principles of the policy are as follows:-

  • Protection of family
  • Promotion of social justice
  • Islamic way of life
  • Discouragement of different prejudices
  • Participation of women and other people in national life
  • Strengthening bonds with the Muslim world and promoting international peace

(XIV) Rule of Law:

The 1962 Constitution also provided equal protection of the law to all and no person can be deprived of life save in accordance with the law.

(XV) Political Parties:

The role of the Political parties was reduced drastically. They were not allowed to protest against the Government.

(XVI) Islamic Council of Ideology:

The Islamic Council of Ideology was also provided in the 1962 Constitution of Pakistan.

(i) Composition:

The number of members of the Council had to be between 5 to 12.

(ii) Authority to Appoint:

The President of Pakistan was authorized to appoint the members of the Council.

(XVII) Amendment Procedure:

The 1962 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provided a rigid procedure for the amendment of the Constitution. A bill to amend the Constitution after having been passed by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the house was presented to the President for his assent. If the President did not give his assent within thirty days it was considered to have been assented by the President.

It is concluded that salient features of 1962 Constitution of Pakistan gave a Presidential form of Government. The 1962 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provided a Federal system. It also provided fundamental rights (originally they were not a part of the Constitution, but through an amendment, they were incorporated into the Constitution) and principles of policy. The judiciary was independent and was regarded as the guardian of fundamental rights. In addition, It provided a unicameral legislature.

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