Bogra Formula

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While taking charge as Prime Minister, Muhammad Ali Bogra declared that formulation of the Constitution was his primary target. He worked hard on this project and within six months of assuming power, came out with a constitutional formula. His constitutional proposal, known as the Bogra Formula, was presented before the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on October 7, 1953. The plan proposed for a Bicameral Legislature with equal representation for all the five provinces of the country in the Upper House. A total of 50 seats were reserved for the Upper House. The 300 seats for the Lower House were to be allocated to the provinces on the basis of proportionate representation. One hundred and sixty five seats were reserved for East Pakistan, 75 for Punjab, 19 for Sindh and Khairpur, 24 for N. W. F. P., tribal areas and the states located in N. W. F. P., and 17 for Baluchistan, Baluchistan States Union, Bhawalpur and Karachi.

In this way East Pakistan was given more seats in the Lower House than the combined number of seats reserved for the federal capital, the four provinces and the princely states of the Western Wing. So in all, both the wings were to have 175 seats each in the two houses of the Legislative Assembly. Both the houses were given equal power, and in case of a conflict between the two houses, the issue was to be presented before a joint session.

In order to prevent permanent domination by any wing, a provision was made that if the head of the state was from West Pakistan, the Prime Minister was to be from East Pakistan, and vice versa. The two houses of the Legislative Assembly formed the Electoral College for the presidential elections and the President was to be elected for a term of 5 years. In place of the Board of Ulema, the Supreme Court was given the power to decide if a law was in accordance with the basic teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah or not.

Unlike the two reports of the Basic Principles Committee, the Bogra Formula was appreciated by different sections of the society. There was great enthusiasm amongst the masses as they considered it as a plan that could bridge the gulf between the two wings of Pakistan and would act as a source of unity for the country. The proposal was discussed in the Constituent Assembly for 13 days, and a committee was set to draft the constitution on November 14, 1953. However, before the constitution could be finalized, the Assembly was dissolved by Ghulam Muhammad, the then Governor General of Pakistan.

This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003