Constitution of Pakistan of 1973
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan. Known as the Constitution of 1973, it was drafted by the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and, following additions by the opposition parties, was approved by the legislative assembly on April 10, 1973. It was Pakistan's first ever constitution by consensus unlike two earlier constitutions, the Constitution of 1956 and the Constitution of 1962.
Pakistan's constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government with the President of Pakistan as head of state and a popularly elected Prime Minister as head of government. Pakistan has a bicameral legislature that ...view middle of the document...
On assuming the presidency, General Yahya Khan acceded to popular demands by abolishing the one-unit system in West Pakistan and ordered general elections on the principle of one man, one vote. General Yahya's regime made no attempt to frame a constitution. The expectations were that a new constituent assembly would be set up by holding a free and fair election. In order to hold the proposed elections, President Yahya Khan promulgated a Legal Framework Order on 30 March 1970 that also spelled out the fundamental principles of the proposed constitution and the structure and composition of the national and provincial assemblies.
In December, 1970 elections were held simultaneously for both the national and five provincial assemblies. By any criteria, elections were free and fair.Although Mujib had been freed from prison by Ayub Khan with the aim that he would stop Bhutto from getting an abolsute majority. There was no interference from the government; it maintained strict neutrality showing no favor or discrimination for or against any political parties. The members of the ruling council of ministers were debarred from participation in the elections. There were no allegations of rigging of the elections as is often alleged in elections held in the countries of the Third World.
But the results of the first and the last general elections in united Pakistan were simply disastrous from the standpoint of national unity and demonstrated the failure of national integration. There was not a single national party in the country which enjoyed the confidence of the people of Pakistan, both East and West Pakistan. Two regional parties—the Awami League (AL) under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in East Pakistan—won 160 out of 162 seats allotted for East Pakistan. But in West Pakistan it could not secure a single seat and the percentage of votes secured by the Awami League in the four provinces of West Pakistan were: 0.07 (Punjab), 0.07 (Sindh) 0.2 (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (then NWFP)) and 1.0 (Baluchistan).
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto won 88 out of 144 seats for West Pakistan. But the PPP did not even dare to set up a candidate in East Pakistan. The remaining 57 seats of West Pakistan were shared by seven parties and there were fifteen independent candidates. The PPP emerged as the single largest party in West Pakistan with majorities in Sindh and the Punjab; and the National Awami Party (NAP) together with their political ally, Jamiat-ul Ulema-i-Islam (of Maulana Mufti Mahmood) JUI, got clear majorities in Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. None of the West Pakistani political parties, like the PPP, could win a single seat in East Pakistan. The religious question played little or no part in the elections. There can be no doubt that in East Pakistan the principles which won the consensus of opinion was the single basic notion of autonomy.
The Awami League had fought the elections on...