The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan was prepared by the first elected NA through a 25 members committee under the leadership of Abdul Hafiz Pirzada of all parliamentary parties. The constitution was approved by the Assembly on 10th April 1973 and assented to by the President on 12thApril 1973. It was enforced on 14thAugust 1973. This constitution was the first one, which enjoyed greater popular appraisal. It enjoyed and still enjoys a great respect and is acknowledged as the best constitution ever produced in Pakistan.
a) Written Constitution:
The constitution of 1973 is a written document. It consists of twelve parts comprising of 27 Chapters and 280 Articles. The twelve parts deals with the following topics.
The constitution of 1973 commences with an introductory in which Objective Resolution is included which declares God’s sovereignty over the Universe.
c) Rigid Constitution:
It is a rigid Constitution means it is not easy to make amendment to it. only Two-third majority of both the houses of Parliament is required for any amendment.
d) Federal System:
The constitution introduced a federal system in the country. According to this system, the country consisted of federal government and four provinces. President is the Head of the State.
e) Federal system Of Government:
Unlike the Constitution of 1962, the Constitution of 1973 introduced a parliamentary system of Government in the country. Prime Minister is the Head of the government. He is the leader of the majority party in the parliament. He runs the affairs of the country with the help of a cabinet. The members of his cabinet are elected by the ministers of parliament. Prime Ministers enjoy wide powers.
f) Bicameral Legislature:
Unlike the constitution of 1956 and 1962, this constitution set up a bicameral legislature comprising of a National Assembly (Majlis-e-Shoora) and a Senate. The tenure of the National Assembly is five years. The Senators are elected for the term of 6 years. Half of the members of Senate retire after every three years.
g) Direct Elections:
The Constitution of 1973 provides for a direct system of election to the members of national and provisional assemblies. The elections are held on adult franchise basis.
h) Fundamental Rights:
This constitution guarantees the following fundamental rights to all citizens, these are:
i) Security of person and property
ii) Safeguard against slavery and forced labour
iii) Freedom of Movement
iv) Freedom Of Speech
v) Freedom Of Peaceful assembly
vi) Freedom to hold property
vii) Freedom to earn livelihood
viii) Equality before law
ix) Freedom to profess religion
x) Protection of language and culture
j) Independent Judiciary:
This constitution has set up independent judiciary in the country. The Judges are appointed by the President of Pakistan but they cannot be removed from services without the recommendations of Supreme Judicial Council.
k) High Treason:
This constitution declares that any unlawful abolishment of the constitution of Pakistan would be considered a high treason.
l) Rule Of Law:
The constitution has established rule of law in the country. According to this constitution the people of Pakistan are guaranteed their fundamental rights and all of them are equal before law.
m) National Language:
Urdu has been declared national and English as an official language.
n) Single Citizenship:
This constitution has enforced the principle of single citizenship in Pakistan. According to this provision, the duties and rights of the citizens are determined by the federal constitution only. Thus throughout the country the people are the citizens of Pakistan only.
o) Principle Of Policy:
The following principles of policy have been laid down in the constitution of 1973.
• Local Bodies will be set up for solving local problems.
• The parochial prejudices will be discouraged.
• The women shall be given equal representation in all spheres of life.
• The rights of minorities will be protected.
• Links with Muslim countries will be promoted.
• People from all parts of the country allowed to serve in Armed Forces.
• State shall promote social justice.
p) Islamic Provisions:
The Constitution included following Islamic provisions:
• Country was named as Islamic Republic Of Pakistan.
• God’s sovereignty was declared over the universe and authority delegated by Him is a sacred trust.
• Islam was declared as a State religion of Pakistan.
• Teachings of Holy Quran and Arabic made compulsory in the country.
• Muslims shall be allowed to mould their lives according to the teachings of Islam.
• Prime Minister and President should be Muslims.
• During oath-taking ceremony, both Prime Minister and President must declare that they believe in the Oneness of God/Almighty Allah, the sacred revealed books of Allah with the Holy Quran being the last of all and the Prophet hood of Muhammad (PBUH) as the last prophet of Allah.
• Parliament was given the Islamic name as Majlis-e-Shoora.
• Establishment of Council of Islamic Ideology to bring all the existing laws into conformity with the injunctions of Holy Quran and Sunnah and advice the President, National Assembly, Senate, Governor or Provincial Assemblies on Islamic matters.
• Promotion of friendly relations with the Islamic countries be promoted.
This constitution allows the President to hold referendum on national issues of extreme importance. Prime Minister can also ask the President to hold referendum on any national issue.
In light of the previous experience, the Constitution of 1973 was more Islamic in character than the previous ones. Emphasis was made to establish a real Islamic system in all aspects of social life. Keeping this objective in mind, more Islamic provisions were laid down in the Constitution of 1973. The Constitution recognized Islam as the religion of the country and enjoined upon the State to serve the cause of Islam and to bring all existing laws in conformity with Islam. The Islamic Advisory Council was set up to recommend ways and means to bring existing laws of the country in conformity with the Islamic principles.
The Constitution of 1973 remained in force for nearly four years. It was, however, suspended by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who imposed Martial Law in the country on July 5, 1979. However, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who ran the country with Martial Law passed the Eighth Amendment in the Constitution in 1985. This Amendment empowered the President to dissolve the National Assembly under Article 58(2) b. This Article was later repealed by the Parliament during Nawaz Sharif’s era through Thirteenth Amendment introduced on April 1, 1997. The Thirteenth Amendment was in turn repealed by the Legal Framework Order of 2002, which effectively restored the discretionary powers of the President enacted by the Eighth Amendment.