CSSPolitical Science

Q. No. 6. Discuss the Major issues during the constitutional making process in Pakistan in 1956, 1962 and 1973. 2017-II


1.Power Distribution and Federalism

Power distribution and federalism have been central themes in Pakistan’s constitutional-making processes, reflecting the country’s diverse regional and ethnic landscape. These issues revolve around the allocation of authority and autonomy between the central government and its provinces.

In the constitutional-making processes of 1956, 1962, and 1973, debates over power distribution and federalism were complex and often contentious. At the heart of these discussions was the delicate balance between central authority and provincial autonomy, aiming to ensure national unity while respecting regional diversity.

During the drafting of the 1956 Constitution, Pakistan opted for a federal system with significant powers vested in the provinces. However, debates arose over the extent of provincial autonomy, particularly concerning financial resources and administrative jurisdiction. The issue of power distribution became a focal point, with provinces advocating for greater control over their affairs to address regional disparities and meet the needs of diverse populations.

In the 1962 Constitution, introduced during President Ayub Khan’s regime, power distribution leaned more towards centralized authority. While the concept of federalism was retained, the central government was strengthened, limiting the autonomy of provinces. This centralization led to tensions and grievances among provincial governments, especially those seeking greater control over resources and decision-making processes.

The 1973 Constitution marked a significant shift towards a more balanced federal structure. It recognized the provinces’ autonomy and delineated clear lines of authority between the federal and provincial governments. The Concurrent Legislative List was introduced to address overlapping jurisdiction, ensuring cooperation and coordination between different tiers of government.

However, despite these constitutional provisions, power struggles between the federal and provincial governments have persisted over the years. Issues such as resource allocation, revenue sharing, and administrative control continue to challenge the harmonious functioning of Pakistan’s federal system.

In conclusion, power distribution and federalism remain critical issues in Pakistan’s constitutional framework, reflecting the ongoing efforts to reconcile national unity with regional diversity. The constitutional-making processes have sought to strike a balance between central authority and provincial autonomy, aiming to create a system that fosters unity while accommodating the diverse needs and aspirations of Pakistan’s provinces.

2.Federal-Provincial Relations

Federal-Provincial Relations refer to the dynamics and interactions between the central government (federal) and the provincial governments within a country. In the context of Pakistan’s constitutional making processes, the issue of federal-provincial relations has been significant due to the diverse cultural, linguistic, and regional differences among the provinces.

During the constitutional making process in Pakistan, particularly in 1956, 1962, and 1973, the distribution of powers and resources between the federal government and the provincial governments was a major point of contention.

In 1956, Pakistan adopted its first constitution, which aimed to establish a federal system of government. However, disagreements arose over the extent of autonomy and powers granted to the provinces. The provinces, particularly East Pakistan, sought greater autonomy and control over their affairs, leading to tensions with the central government.

In 1962, following military intervention, the constitution centralized power in the hands of the president, diminishing the role of provincial governments. This centralization led to further strains in federal-provincial relations as the provinces felt marginalized and their autonomy curtailed.


By 1973, when Pakistan adopted a new constitution, efforts were made to address the grievances of the provinces. The constitution provided for a federal system with a clear delineation of powers between the federal and provincial governments. However, issues such as resource distribution, representation, and autonomy continued to be sources of tension.

Overall, the dynamics of federal-provincial relations have played a crucial role in shaping the constitutional framework of Pakistan. Balancing the interests and concerns of the provinces with those of the central government has been a constant challenge, requiring careful negotiation and compromise to maintain stability and harmony within the country.

3.Role of the Military:

The role of the military has been a significant factor in Pakistan’s constitutional making processes, particularly in 1956, 1962, and 1973. The military’s involvement has influenced the drafting and implementation of constitutions in various ways:

  1. Military Intervention: In 1958, General Ayub Khan seized power through a military coup, leading to the abrogation of the 1956 constitution. Subsequently, a new constitution was promulgated in 1962 under his regime, significantly altering the political landscape. This marked the beginning of direct military involvement in constitutional affairs, as civilian institutions were sidelined.
  2. Centralization of Power: The 1962 constitution centralized power in the hands of the president, who was usually a military figure during this period. This centralization weakened parliamentary democracy and reduced the role of elected representatives, concentrating authority within the military establishment.
  3. Authoritarian Governance: Military regimes in Pakistan often resulted in authoritarian governance, where civil liberties were curtailed, political dissent was suppressed, and opposition parties were marginalized. The military’s dominance in the constitutional making process reinforced this authoritarian trend, limiting civilian participation and representation.
  4. Influence on National Security Policies: The military’s influence extended beyond constitutional matters to national security policies. Military regimes prioritized national security concerns, often at the expense of democratic principles and civilian governance. This influence shaped the formulation of foreign policy, defense strategy, and internal security measures.
  5. Legacy of Military Rule: The legacy of military rule has had a lasting impact on Pakistan’s political institutions and constitutional framework. Despite transitions to civilian rule, the military continues to wield significant influence in the country’s political affairs, often behind the scenes. The prevalence of military interventions and coups has undermined democratic norms and institutions, creating a cycle of instability and political uncertainty.

In summary, the role of the military in Pakistan’s constitutional making processes has been characterized by interventions, centralization of power, authoritarian governance, influence on national security policies, and a lasting legacy of military rule. Balancing civilian and military interests remains a challenge in Pakistan’s quest for stable and inclusive constitutional governance.


1.Military Intervention

Military intervention refers to the direct involvement of the military in the political affairs of a country, often through actions such as coups d’état or the imposition of martial law. In the context of Pakistan’s constitutional making processes, military intervention has played a significant role, particularly in 1956, 1962, and subsequent years.

  1. 1956: Following the adoption of Pakistan’s first constitution in 1956, the country faced political instability and governance challenges. In 1958, General Ayub Khan staged a coup, overthrowing the civilian government and imposing martial law. This marked the first direct military intervention in Pakistan’s political history, disrupting the constitutional order established by the 1956 constitution.
  2. 1962: General Ayub Khan’s military regime subsequently promulgated a new constitution in 1962, which centralized power in the hands of the president and significantly weakened parliamentary democracy. The military’s intervention in the constitutional making process led to the sidelining of civilian institutions and the imposition of authoritarian governance.
  3. Subsequent Years: Military interventions continued to occur intermittently in Pakistan’s political history, with the military seizing power in 1977 under General Zia-ul-Haq and again in 1999 under General Pervez Musharraf. In each instance, military rulers suspended or amended existing constitutions, often to consolidate their own power and suppress political opposition.
  4. Impact on Constitutional Development: Military intervention has had a profound impact on Pakistan’s constitutional development. It has disrupted the process of democratic consolidation, undermined the rule of law, and perpetuated cycles of political instability. Military regimes have often promulgated constitutions that centralize power in the hands of the military leadership, weakening civilian institutions and democratic governance.
  5. Challenges to Civilian Rule: Despite transitions to civilian rule, the specter of military intervention continues to loom over Pakistan’s political landscape. The military’s involvement in constitutional affairs poses challenges to the establishment of sustainable democratic governance and the protection of civil liberties.

In summary, military intervention in Pakistan’s constitutional making processes has been a recurring phenomenon, characterized by coups, martial law, and the imposition of authoritarian rule. It has profoundly shaped the country’s political trajectory, contributing to a complex relationship between civilian and military authorities and posing ongoing challenges to democratic governance.

2.Centralization of Power:

Centralization of power refers to the concentration of authority, decision-making, and control within a single entity or institution, often at the expense of other branches of government or regional authorities. In the context of Pakistan’s constitutional making processes, centralization of power has been a notable feature, particularly in the 1962 constitution promulgated during General Ayub Khan’s military regime.

  1. 1962 Constitution: Under General Ayub Khan’s regime, Pakistan adopted a new constitution in 1962 that significantly centralized power in the hands of the president. This constitution established a presidential system where the president wielded extensive executive authority, including the power to dissolve the National Assembly and appoint provincial governors.
  2. Presidential Authority: The 1962 constitution vested the president with sweeping powers, including the ability to issue ordinances, appoint key officials, and influence legislation. The president was also granted the authority to declare a state of emergency and suspend fundamental rights, further consolidating executive control.
  3. Weak Parliamentary Oversight: The centralization of power in the presidency weakened parliamentary oversight and diminished the role of elected representatives. The National Assembly, Pakistan’s legislative body, had limited authority to check the president’s actions, leading to a lack of accountability and transparency in governance.
  4. Marginalization of Provincial Governments: The 1962 constitution also marginalized provincial governments by centralizing decision-making authority at the federal level. Provincial autonomy was limited, and provincial governors were appointed by the president, undermining local representation and autonomy.
  5. Impact on Democracy: The centralization of power under the 1962 constitution undermined democratic principles and institutions in Pakistan. By concentrating authority in the hands of the president, the constitution weakened the separation of powers, stifled political dissent, and contributed to authoritarian governance.

In summary, the centralization of power in Pakistan’s constitutional framework, particularly under the 1962 constitution, resulted in a presidential system characterized by extensive executive authority and limited parliamentary oversight. This centralization had profound implications for democratic governance, political accountability, and the distribution of power within the country.


1.East-West Disparities

East-West disparities refer to the socioeconomic, cultural, and political differences between the eastern and western regions of Pakistan. These disparities have been a significant factor in shaping the country’s political landscape and constitutional development, particularly during the constitutional making processes of 1956, 1962, and 1973.

  1. Geographic Divide: Pakistan’s territory is divided into two main regions: West Pakistan (comprising present-day Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The geographical distance between East and West Pakistan contributed to a sense of isolation and distinctiveness between the two regions.
  2. Population Disparities: East Pakistan had a larger population compared to West Pakistan, with Bengalis constituting a significant majority. Despite their numerical superiority, East Pakistanis often felt marginalized in national politics and governance, leading to feelings of neglect and resentment.
  3. Language and Culture: Bengali culture and language were predominant in East Pakistan, while Urdu and Punjabi were more prevalent in West Pakistan. This linguistic and cultural divide exacerbated feelings of alienation and contributed to a sense of cultural discrimination among East Pakistanis.
  4. Economic Disparities: East Pakistan was economically disadvantaged compared to West Pakistan. Despite its agricultural richness, East Pakistan lagged behind in economic development, infrastructure, and industrialization. Economic disparities fueled grievances over resource allocation and development priorities.
  5. Political Representation: East Pakistanis felt underrepresented in the central government, which was largely dominated by West Pakistani elites. The distribution of political power and resources favored West Pakistan, leading to tensions and demands for greater autonomy and representation in decision-making processes.

Overall, East-West disparities were a significant factor in Pakistan’s constitutional making processes, contributing to political instability, regional tensions, and ultimately, the secession of East Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Addressing these disparities has remained a challenge for Pakistan’s successive governments, requiring efforts to promote inclusivity, equitable development, and respect for regional diversity.


Federalism refers to a system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units, such as states or provinces. Each level of government has its own sphere of authority and autonomy, with a constitution typically delineating the distribution of powers and responsibilities between them. In the context of Pakistan’s constitutional making processes, federalism has been a significant issue, particularly during the drafting of the constitutions in 1956, 1962, and 1973.

  1. Distribution of Powers: Federalism in Pakistan entails a division of powers between the federal government and the provincial governments. The constitution outlines the specific powers and responsibilities assigned to each level of government, ensuring a balance between central authority and regional autonomy.
  2. Provincial Autonomy: Federalism in Pakistan aims to accommodate the diverse linguistic, cultural, and regional identities within the country. Provincial governments have authority over areas such as education, health, agriculture, and local governance, allowing them to address the unique needs and priorities of their respective regions.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Federalism serves as a mechanism for managing conflicts and addressing grievances among different regions or ethnic groups within Pakistan. By devolving power to the provinces, federalism can help mitigate tensions arising from regional disparities and promote greater inclusivity and representation in the political process.
  4. Resource Allocation: Federalism involves the distribution of financial resources and revenues between the federal government and the provinces. This includes revenue-sharing agreements, fiscal transfers, and mechanisms for equitable resource allocation, ensuring that all regions have access to adequate funding for development and governance.
  5. Constitutional Framework: The constitution of Pakistan provides the legal framework for federalism, outlining the powers of the federal government, the provinces, and any concurrent powers shared between them. Amendments to the constitution may involve adjustments to the distribution of powers, reflecting evolving political dynamics and regional aspirations.

In summary, federalism in Pakistan plays a crucial role in accommodating regional diversity, promoting inclusivity, and managing conflicts between different levels of government. It provides a framework for democratic governance, ensuring that power is shared responsibly and that the interests of all regions are taken into account in the decision-making process.

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