The Muslims of India had, since the middle of the last century, begun the struggle for a seperate homeland on the basis of the Two Nation Theory. Despite their long association and interactions at various levels, the Hindus and Muslims of India remained two seperate and distinct socio-cultural entities. Their social segregation persisted due to their homeland. Keeping in view the situation, at that time, the British rulers were left with no option but to eventually accept the demands of the Muslims of India.
On June 3, 1947, Lord Louis Mountbatten,the last Viceroy of India, called the conference of all the leaders of the sub-continent and communicated to thes His Majesty's Government's Plan for the transfer of power. At that time, a notification was issued in the Gazette of India, published on July 26, 1947, in which the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was given shape with sixty six Members including one female Member.
The state of Pakistan was created under the Independence act of 1947. The act made the existing Constituent Assemblies the dominion Legislatures. These Assemblies were to exercise all the powers which were formerly exercised by the Central Legislature in addition to the powers regarding the framing of a new Constitution, prior to which all the teritories were to be governed in accordance with the Government of India Act, 1935.
The first session of the firt Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was held on August 10, 1947, at Sind Assembly Building, Karachi. On 10 & 11 August, 58 Members took oath. On August 11, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elected unanimously as the President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, and the National Flag wasformally approved by the Assembly.
On August 12, 1947, a resolution was approved regarding officially addressing Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah as "Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah". On the same day, a special Committee called the "Committee on Fundamental Rights of Citizens and Minorities of Pakistan", was also appointed to look into and advise the Assembly on matters relating to fundamental rights of the citizens, particularly the minorities, with the aim to legislate on these issues approopriately. In this way due importance was given to the minorities and fundamental rightd of the citizens at large, from day one.
On August 14, 1947, the transfer of power took place. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Governer General of India, addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. The Quaid gave a reply to the address, in the House, on which the principles of the State of Pakistan are laid. On August 15, 1947, Quaid-i-Azam was sworn in as the first Governer General of Pakistan and Mian Sir Abdur Rashid, Chief Justice of Pakistan, took oath of office from him. The Quaid remained in this postion till his death on September 11, 1948.
Given the foremost task before the First Constituent Assembly of framing the Constitution for the Nation, work on it started from the very beginning. On March 7, 1949, the Objectives Resolution, which now serves as the grund norm was introduced by the first Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan, and later adopted by the Constituent Assembly on March 12, 1949. The Objectives Resolution affirmed that sovereignty over the entire universe belonged to Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He had delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people, was a sacred trust.
After the passage of the Objectives resolution, on the same day, a Basic Principles Committee comprising 24 members was formed to prepare a draft Constitution on the basis of the Objectives Resolution. On October 16, 1951, Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated and Khwaja Nazimuddin took over as the Prime Minister on October 17, 1951.
The final draft of the constitution was prepared in 1954. By that time Muhammad Ali Bogra had taken over as the Prime Minister. However, before the draft could be placed in the House for approval, the Assembly was dissolved by the the Governer General Ghulam Muhammad on October 24,1954. The Prime Minister, however, was not dismissed and was asked to run the administration, with a reconstituted Cabinet, until such time as the elections were held.
The second Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was created on May 28 under Governer General's Order No. 12 of 1955. The electoral college of this Assembly were the provincial Assemblies of respective Provinces. The strength of this Assembly was 80 members, half each from East & West Pakistan. One of the major achivements of this Assembly was the establishment of West Pakistan, with the aim to create parity between the two wings. The second achievement of this Assembly was to give the first Constitution to the nation.
The draft of this Constitution was introduced in the Assembly on January 9, 1956, and it was passed by the Assembly on February 29, 1956.The assent to the Governer General was given on March 2, 1956. This Constitution was enforced with effect from March 23, 1956. Under this Constitution Pakistan became an Islamic Republic.
On March 5, 1956, Major Gen. Iskander Mirza became the first elected President of Pakistan. According to the Constitutionof 1956, the President was the Executive Head of the Federation and was to be elected by all the members of the National and Provincial Assemblies. He was to hold office for five years. The President was to act on the advice of the Cabinet escept where he was empowered to act in his discretion, which was limited to a few cases only. Thus the link factor between the President and the Cabinet was the Prime Minister.
Under the Constitution of 1956, the Parliament of Paakistan was unicameral. Legislative ppowers vested in the Paliament which consisted of the President and the National Assembly comprising 300 members divided in to half between East and West Pakistan. In addition to those 300 seats, five seats for women were reserved for each of the two wings for a period of ten years.
Although the first elections were scheduled for early 1959, President Iskander Mirza was compelled to abrogate the constitution, dissolve the National And PRovincial Assemblies, and declare Martial Law on October 7, 1958. He Appointed General Muhammad Ayub Khan, Commander-inChief of the Army as the Chief Martial Law Administrator.
On October 27, 1958, General Muhammad Ayub Khan, took over as the second President of Pakistan. A new constitution was framed and given to the nation on March 1, 1962. General elections under the new constitution were held on March 28, 1962, and elections to the speacial seats reserved for women were held on May 29, 1962. The first session of the third National Assembly was held on June 8, 1962. The Constitution of 1962, envisaged a federal state with presidential system of government, with National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies. All executive authority of the Republic of Pakistan, under the Constitution, vested in the office of the President.
On March 25, 1969, the second Martial Law was imposed and General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan took over as the President of Pakistan and Chief Martial Law Administrator. He, issued a Legal Framework Order, under which the first ever general elections were held on December 7, 1970, and the composition of the Assembly was based for the first time, consisting of 169 from East and 144 from West Pakistan. Soon after the elections the province of East Pakistan seceded from West Pakistan and became Bangladesh. On December 20, 1971,Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took over as the President of Pakistan as well as the first civil Chief Martial Law Administrator.
The first civilian session of the National Assembly , due to the delay caused by the separation of East Pakistan, was held on 14th April 1972 at the State bank building in Islamabad, in which all 144 Members from west Pakistan and two from former East Pakistan (Mr. Nurul Amin & Raja Tridev Roy) who had chosen to join Pakistan, participated. 17 April , 1972 an Interim Contitution was adopted by the National Assembly.
A Contitutional Commitee was formed to prepare the first draft for the purpose of framing a permanent Constitution. The report of the Commitee was presented with a draft Constitution on 31 Dec'1972. It was passed by the Assembly on its session of 10 April, 1973, unanimously, and was authenticated by the President of Assembly on 12 April , 1973. The Constitution called Contitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, was enforced on August 14 , 1973. On the same day Zulfiqar Ali Bhtto took oath as the Prime Minister while Mr. Fazal Elahi Choudri took oath as the President of Pakistan.
The Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, provides for a parliamentary form of government where the Executive Authorityof the State vests in the Prime Minister. The President according to the original Constitution of 1973, was at the apex, with only a titulat role representing the unity of the Republic.
Under the Constitution of 1973, the term limit of the National Assembly is five years unless sooner dissolved. The strength of the National Assembly membership is now 217, as the Constitutional provision of 20 special seats for women lapsed in 1990. The elections to the minority seats are held on seperate electorate basis consisting of non-Muslim population of the country under the same general procedures as those for the Muslim seats and at the same time.
Despite the tenure of the Assembly being five years, as prescribed in the Constitution, Mr. Z. A. Bhutto, on January 7, 1977, announced the holding of elections before time. Which resulted in a severe political crisis and Martial Law was imposed by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the Army Chief, on July 5, 1977. After four years, on December 24, 1981 under the Presidential Order, a Feral Council was constituted. The members were nominated by the President. General Elections were later held on February 25, 1985 on non-party basis.
On March 2, 1985, revival of Constitution Order was issued in which a large number of ammendments were made in the Constitution of 1973. The first session of the 1985 Assembly was held on March 20, 1985. Mr. Muhammad Khan Junejo was nominated, under the Constitution, as the Prime Minister of Pakistan by the President, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
The Parliamentary history of Pakistan, though chequered and crisis ridden, one has managed to come through to the point where presently we have held five general electios in last twelve years. The Thirteenth and the Fourteenth Ammendments have reinforeced the stability by prevention of political defections.