The Constitution of 1973

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The Bhutto Government’s first achievement was the preparation of a Constitution for the country. The most prominent characteristic of this Constitution was that it accommodated proposals from the opposition parties and hence almost all the major political parties of the country accepted it. The National Assembly approved the 1973 Constitution on April 10, 1973, and it came into effect on August 14. Bhutto took over as the Prime Minister of Pakistan from this date and Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry was appointed as the President of Pakistan.

The Constitution of 1973 opens with a Preamble. This is the preliminary part of the Constitution in which broad features of the Constitution have been explained. The first Article of the Constitution declares Pakistan as a Federal Republic to be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Islam was declared as the State religion of Pakistan. Pakistan was to be a Federation of four federating Units, Punjab, Sindh, N. W. F. P. and Baluchistan.

The Constitution was parliamentary in nature. Article 41 of the Constitution lay down that the President was to be the Head of the State. The President was to be a Muslim above 45 years of age and was to be elected by a joint sitting of members of the Parliament for 5 years. He could be re-elected but could not hold office for more than two terms. The President was to act on the advice of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The President could be removed on the grounds of physical or mental incapacity or impeached on charges of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct. The President was authorized to appoint the Attorney General, Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts, and the Chief Election Commissioners. In the Provincial Government, each province was to have a Governor appointed by the President. The appointment of Federal Ministers and Ministers of the State from amongst the members of the Parliament was at the Prime Minister’s disposal.

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