Constitutional Developments in Pakistan

Since its creation in 1947 Pakistan has had three constitutions, adopted in 1956, 1962, and 1973. The 1973 constitution was the result of a consensus among the political parties then represented in parliament.

The Constitution of Pakistan 1973 was enacted by the National Assembly on April 10, 1973. The Constitution was held in abeyance by the Proclamation of Martial Law issued by General M. Zia-ul-Haq on July 5, 1977. The Revival of the Constitution of 1973 Order, 1985 (President’s Order No. 14 of 1985) and the Constitution (Eighth Amendment) Act, 1985, (XVIII of 1985) brought about major amendments to the Constitution. The Constitution was revived in 1985 through the Enforcement of Constitution Order on March 10, 1985

The whole of Pakistan once again came under the control of the Armed Forces of Pakistan on October 12, 1999, by virtue of the Proclamation of Emergency issued by General Pervez Musharraf, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Army Staff, on October 14, 1999. By virtue of the said Proclamation Pervez Musharraf also assumed the office of Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The Constitution was again held in abeyance by the Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 of 1999, issued by the Chief Executive on October 14, 1999. However, the said Order provided, in Art. 2 thereof, that notwithstanding the abeyance of the Constitution, Pakistan shall, subject to the said Order and any other Order made by the Chief Executive, be governed, as nearly as may be, in accordance with the Constitution.

The Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act, 2003 has now validated and affirmed all the amendments made in the Constitution by the Legal Framework Order, 2002.

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