Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
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Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
آئین ساز اسمبلی,
|Founded||11 August 1947|
|Disbanded||October 24, 1954|
|Succeeded by||Islamic Republic of Pakistan|
The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (Bengali: পাকিস্তান গণপরিষদ, romanized: Pākistān Goṇoporishod; Urdu: آئین ساز اسمبلی, romanized: Aāin Sāz Asimblī), was formed to write Pakistan's constitution and serve as its first (interim) parliament.
Pakistan's Constituent Assembly first convened on August 11, 1947, on the eve of independence and the end of British rule. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elected as the president of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on the same day and remained its president until his death on September 11, 1948. Subsequently, Liaquat Ali Khan headed it for three years and produced the Objectives Resolution, which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in March 12, 1949 as an annex to Pakistan's constitution. It is important to mention that 21 members out of 69 voted for the Objectives Resolution. The assembly had a majority of Muslim League members, with the Pakistan National Congress, the successor to the INC in the state, forming the second largest party.
The assembly was widely criticized for its incompetence. Addressing a rally in Lahore on October 14, 1950, Maulana Maududi demanded its dissolution, arguing that the "lampost legislators" were incapable of drawing up an Islamic constitution. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy said that assembly did not possess any of the characteristics of a democratic parliament. He argued that the nation would overlook any unconstitutional action on the governor general's part if he exorcised the fascist demon and established representative institutions. The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was dissolved on October 24, 1954 by Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad. The dissolution was challenged by the president of the assembly in the notable case of Federation of Pakistan v. Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, in which the federal court took the side of the governor general, in spite of dissent from one judge. Mohammad Ali Bogra was the Prime Minister of Pakistan at the time.
The second Constituent Assembly reconstituted on May 28, 1955. The constitution was promulgated on March 23, 1956, making Pakistan an Islamic republic. On October 7, 1958, martial law was imposed on the country by Iskander Mirza, with army chief Ayub Khan appointed as the chief martial law administrator. The new leaders abrogated the constitution, declaring it unworkable.
After coming to power, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto invited the leaders of the parliamentary parties to meet him on October 17, 1972, which led to an agreement known as the 'constitutional accord', which was reached after intensive talks. As per consultations floated by the PPP, the National Assembly of Pakistan appointed a 25-member committee led by Mahmud Ali Kasuri on April 17, 1972 to prepare a draft of a permanent constitution for Pakistan. On October 20, 1972, the draft bill for the constitution was signed by leaders of all parliamentary groups in the National Assembly. A bill to provide a constitution for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was introduced in the assembly on February 2, 1973. The assembly passed the bill nearly unanimously on April 10, 1973 and it was endorsed by the acting President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 12, 1973. The constitution came into effect on August 14, 1973. On the same day, Bhutto took over as the prime minister and Choudhary Fazal-e-Elahi as the president, both for a 5-year term. On July 5, 1977, General Zia staged a military coup, suspended the constitution (which was later restored in 1985), and declared martial law. Similarly, when General Musharraf took over in 1999, the constitution was suspended for several years and the parliament was dissolved.
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