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CONSTITUTION OF 1962

CONSTITUTION OF 1962 The process of consultation for devising a new constitution began in February 1960 when a constitutional commission was appointed to first elicit the views of the people on the structure of government and then to present its recommendations to the president The commission, working under the chairmanship of Muhammad Shahbuddin, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, made its recommendations in a report to President Muhammad Ayub Khan on 6 May 1961 Rather than accept the structure proposed by the commission, Ayub Khan entrusted the job of writing the new constitution to Manzur Qadir, his foreign minister Manzur Qadir produced a constitutional framework that used the system of Basic Democracies as its foundation Adult franchise was confined to the election of 80,000 Basic Democrats, 40,000 for each of the provinces of East and West Pakistan The Basic Democrats constituted the electoral college for the president and members of the national and provincial assemblies The president appointed his own cabinet whose members were not responsible to the National Assembly The president was given extensive executive, legislative, and financial powers, including power to issue ordinances, declare emergencies, and call referendums in case of persistent differences with the National Assembly The constitution could be amended by the National Assembly only with the approval of the president The constitution became effective on 8 June 1962 and was used immediately to legitimize Ayub Khan’s administration



Two sets of elections were held under the new political structure erected by the constitution The first, held in 1962, was to elect the “Basic Democrats” who then went on to reaffirm Ayub Khan as president and to choose the members of the National and Provincial Assemblies The second, held in 1965, reelected Ayub Khan as president but not with the kind of majority he had hoped Ayub Khan had to fight hard against Fatima Jinnah, the candidate put forward by the Combined Opposition Party The constitution failed its most important test, that of transfer of power In 1969, a prolonged agitation against Ayub Khan led to the president’s resignation Under the constitution, Abdul Jabbar Khan, a politician from East Pakistan and speaker of the National Assembly, should have become acting president, pending the election of a new head of state by the electoral college Instead, Ayub Khan invited General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan to perform his “constitutional duty,” and take over the administration General Yahya Khan became president, placed Pakistan once again under martial law, abrogated the constitution, and dissolved the National and Provincial Assemblies

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