The Constitution of 1956

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After assuming charge as Prime Minister, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali along with his team worked day and night to formulate a constitution for Pakistan. His efforts led to the first constitution that was enforced in the country on March 23, 1956. Pakistan’s status as a dominion ended and the country was declared an Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Thereupon the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan became the interim National Assembly and Governor General Iskander Mirza was sworn in as the first President of Pakistan.

The Constitution of 1956 consisted of 234 articles, which were divided into 13 parts and 6 schedules. One of the main features of the Constitution was its Islamic character. The Islamic provisions were contained in the directive principles of the state policy. Along with other Islamic provisions in the Constitution, the president, who was required to be a Muslim of at least 40 years of age, was to set up an organization for Islamic research with the aim of establishing a true Islamic society. The Objectives Resolution was, however, only made the preamble of the Constitution and not included in its main text.

The Constitution vested the executive authority of the President in the Federation. The President had the discretionary powers to make the appointment of the Chairman and members of the Election Commission, Delimitation Commission and Public Service Commission. He also had the power to appoint the Prime Minister from amongst the members of the National Assembly. However, his appointee had to take a vote of confidence from the Assembly within two months of his appointment. The President also had the power to remove the Prime Minister if he felt that the Prime Minister had lost the confidence of the majority of the National Assembly members.

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