The Constitution of 1962

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With the aim of investigating the reasons of failure of the parliamentary system in Pakistan, and to make recommendations for a new constitution, Ayub Khan appointed a Constitution Commission under the supervision of Justice Shahab-ud-din. After a number of considerations, the Commission submitted its report on May 6, 1961. Ayub Khan was not satisfied with the report and had it processed through various committees. As a result the Constitution, which was promulgated on March 1, and enforced on June 8, 1962, was entirely different from the one recommended by the Shahab-ud-din Commission.

The Constitution of 1962 consisted of 250 Articles, which were divided into 12 Parts and three Schedules. It advocated presidential form of government with absolute powers vested in the President. The President was to be a Muslim not less than 35 years of age. The term of the President was for five years and nobody could hold the post for more than two consecutive terms. The President was the head of the state as well as the head of the Government. The President had the power to appoint Provincial Governors, Federal Ministers, Advocate General, Auditor General and Chairmen and Members of various administrative commissions. As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, the appointment of the chiefs of the forces was also his duty.

The Constitution of 1962 provided for a unicameral legislature. The National Assembly was to consist of 156 members, including six women. The Eighth Amendment later increased this number to 218. Principle of parity was retained and seats were distributed equally between the two wings of the country. Principle of Basic Democracy was introduced for the first time in the country and the system of indirect elections was presented. Only 80,000 Basic Democrats were given the right to vote in the presidential elections. The Eighth Amendment later increased this number to 120,000.

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