Pakistan: Constitution of 1956

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Constitution of Pakistan → Constitution of 1956

A constitution is a set of fundamental principles by which a state is governed. Constitution of 1956 was the first constitution of Pakistan. It was made after work of nine years. In 1955 Chaudhary Muhammad Ali became the fourth Prime minister of Pakistan and he paid special attention on framing a constitution for the country.

He introduced the draft of constitution of 1956, in second constituent assembly on 9th January 1956. Second constituent assembly of Pakistan passed this draft on 29th February 1956.

Governor General Iskander Mirza gave assent to this draft on 2nd march and on 23rd march 1956 the first constitution of Pakistan was promulgated. With the implementation of this constitution, Pakistan became a federation.


Written Constitution
Constitution of 1956 is a written constitution.

Detailed Constitution
Constitution of 1956 is a detailed constitution including 234 articles divided into 13 parts and 6 schedules. It was the largest constitution of the world at that time.

Constitution of 1956 was based on a preamble. “Objective Resolution” was included as preamble of this constitution. Opening words of objective resolution states that sovereignty over the whole universe belongs to Allah Almighty.

Islamic Republic
It was clearly narrated in constitution of 1956 that name of country would be “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. Republic is a government in which there is no monarch.

Parliamentary Government
Parliamentary system of government was adopted in this constitution. According to this form of government, president would be the head of state and prime minister would be the head of government.

Unicameral Legislature
Constitution of 1956 stated that there would be unicameral legislature. It means that legislature would consist of only one house that was National Assembly. Both the provinces were given equal representation with 150 seats each.

Federal Structure
Pakistan was declared a federation in which powers were divided among center and provinces. There were two provinces, i.e. East-Pakistan and West-Pakistan.

Three Legislative Lists
Constitution of 1956 introduced three legislative lists:
A) Federal legislative list
B) Provincial legislative list
C) Concurrent legislative list

Checks and Balances
Constitution of 1956 introduced a system of checks and balances for all organs of government. Every institution worked under the limitations enforced by law.

Fundamental Rights
Fundamental rights are those rights which are guaranteed by constitution. 1956-constitution provided fundamental rights to all citizens of state.

Directive Principles of State Policy
Constitution of 1956 introduced directions and guidelines for running the state i.e. improvement of living standards of public, abolition of illiteracy etc.

Head of the State
It was clearly mentioned that head of the state would be a Muslim.

President’s Office
Tenure for the office of president would be five years and age of president would be at least forty years. He would appoint governors, judges, and advocate general.

National Language
Constitution of 1956 declared that national languages would include Urdu and Bengali.

Independent Judiciary
Constitution provided for an independent judiciary in country. Supreme Court was constituted to interpret the law.

West Pakistan
Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Baluchistan were merged into one province i.e. West-Pakistan.

Direct Elections
System of direct elections was introduced for National Assembly as well as provincial assemblies. In direct elections people would choose their candidate by directly casting vote for him.

Adult Franchise
Every adult person was given the right to cast a vote. Age fixed for being adult was 21 years.

Rule of Law
Constitution of 1956 emphasized on rule of law in country. Everyone was equal in eye of constitution and no one is above the constitution.

  • Equality Between East & West Wing to be Maintained
  • Flexible Constitution
  • Adoption of Two National Languages
  • Islamic Flavor of the Constitution
  • Judiciary to Grant Prerogative Relief when Law goes Ultra Vires.

Next: Causes for failure of 1956 Constitution