Constitutional Law

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.

After going through many upas and downs since it’s inception until the 1973, Pakistan witnessed a comprehensive and an exhaustive Constitution approved and enacted unanimously on 12 April, 1973. This Constitution was, in many aspects, unique from previous ones. Slam was declared as a state religion. Principles of Policy were introduced in the new document raging from Article 29 to 40. These are the guiding principles for state policies.ย  The Parliament and the Executive are to bear in mind these guiding principles while devising any law or policy. A comprehensive list of the Fundamental Rights was also included from Articles 8 to 28. Parliamentary system was again adopted. The Country was declared as an Islamic Federation comprising of four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, and certain other territories which were under the control of the federal government at he center. In this Constitution, the designation of the president isย  ceremonial in nature. He is a ceremonial head of the state, sitting as a representative of the federal units of the state. He is supposed to be impartial. Prime Minister has power under the new document to control the executive of theย  state. He is the head of the cabinet, responsible for the most crucial policy decisions during the rein. Prime Minister is elected from the majority party and who enjoys support of the majority within the Parliament. The Parliament is bicameral, comprising two houses: National Assembly, called lower house and Senate, called upper house. The Constitution also comprehensively outlines how the Parliament should be run, how members can be elected to it, and what its tenure should be.ย The Constitution also embodies trichotomy of power, providing that the Parliament is to legislate, the executive is to implementย  and the judiciary is to interpret. This separation of power is not explicitly written in the Constitution but it is implied in it. Every organ of the State has given limited and exclusive powers to run the system. None of the organ is allowed to intrude into the domain of another and assume the role of that organ. The Constitution of 1973 has seen so far as many as 25 amendments since its inception. All of them are very crucial but one ofย  the most significant of these amendments is the 18th amendment which granted more autonomy to the provinces and left a limited list of powers for federal government. There is a list called federal legislative list provided in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution which stipulates the areas in which the federal government is allowed to legislate and exercise power. The rest of the areas are left for the provinces to legislate and regulate. The residual powers have also been given to the provincesย  in the new Constitution. This heard-earned document has also faced two martial laws, both of them were the longest martial lawsย  of our history. Despite this, the Constitution has survived and we still have this blessing of Allah to run our state. Here is the downloadable text of the Constitution: Click to Downloadย 

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. Read More ยป

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1956.

The 29th February and 23rd March of 1956 are the significant occasions which markedย  milestones in the history of Pakistan. The then Constituent Assembly succeeded to pass the first written constitution on 29th February which was named as the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1956. However, the Constitution was not implemented on this said day. The then far sighted and forward-thinking proponents of democratic traditions chose the 23rd March as the implementation day of the Constitution.ย  The rational and wisdom behind choosing this day was evident and apparent. This day was the day when Resolution of Pakistan was passed in Lahore at Meenar e Pakistan, the present-day Iqbal Park. This day was named as Yum-e-Pakistan, Pakistan Day by the founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.ย  The said Constitution was implemented on this historical day: 23rd March of 1956. The state affairs from the independence in 1947 until 1956 when the Constitution was formed were mainly run by the Government of Indian Act, 1935 which was adopted by Pakistan with certain modifications. The Constitution recognized Pakistan as a Islamic Republic declaring Islam its official religion. A legislature at federal level was introduced, which was bicameral, consisting of two houses: National Assembly, which was also called lower house, and Senate which was also called upper house. The then Pakistan was comprising two provinces: West Pakistan and East Pakistan, the present-day Bangladesh and certain other territories which were not part of the provinces but they were under the control of the Federation . A Parliamentary system was introduced in the first written constitution with a president as a head of the state. The president was to be elected through electoral college and the prime minister from among the majority party. The full text of the first written Constitution is given at he link below: Click to Downloadย  Part 1 Click to Downloadย  Part 2  

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1956. Read More ยป

Government of India Act, 1935.

Government of India Act, 1935 is a significant constitutional instrument which played a vital role in shaping the politics of the then sub-continent ruled by the British. This was the Act which inherited Pakistan after coming into being in 1947 which subsisted till the our own Constitution of 1956 was created. The state affairs were run in the light of this important instrument during the interregnum period.ย  The Government of India Act 1935 was an extensive constitutional reform that aimed to restructure the governance of British India. It was the fourth major constitutional enactment passed by the British Parliament for India, and it was designed to introduce a federal system in India. An overview of the key aspects of the Act is given below: The Act introduced a federal system consisting of two tiers: British Indian Provinces and Princely States. The provinces were further classified into Governer’s provinces and Chief Commissioner’s provinces. The Act also granted more Provincial Autonomy to than before which substantially pushed the British rule back and the indigenous leadership started enjoying more power and control over the state affairs. The British only retained control over the defense, and foreign affairs. The Act also provided for a legislature at federal level which was consisting of two houses: upper house and lower house.ย  Most of the members of the federal legislature were elected but certain number of seats were also reserved for members from princely states. Governors at the provincial level were introduced who duty was to oversee the administrative affairs of the province andย  represent the British in the province. In fact the governor was a representative of British rule in the provinces. A diarchy system at the provincial level was introduced in the Act which divided the affairs of the provinces between the elected ministers and the governor as a representative of British rule.ย  However, the subjects reserved for the governor were limited and defined. These were some key aspects of the 1935 Act, however this not he exhaustive list. For better understanding, kindly give a read to the text of the Act. The actual text of the Act is given below: Click to Downloadย 

Government of India Act, 1935.

SC-Pakistan lawandpolicychambers

Parliament enacts Bill to regulate Supreme Court Procedure

This week, the Pakistani Parliament has enacted a Bill to regulate the Practice and Procedure of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Bill will become effective once it is signed by the President. Even if the President chooses not to sign it, it will become effective after 14 days. The legality of the Bill is being hotly debated and is likely to be come up for adjudication soon. [embeddoc url=””]

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No-More-Strikes-Please lawandpolicychambers

No More Strikes, Please!

No More Strikes, Please! When terrorists struck at a local court in Charsadda on March 7, 2016, and killed more than a dozen innocent people, right inside the court premises, court-going lawyers all over Pakistan felt not only sad but personally insecure. Back in 2014, we saw something similar happen in the heart of Islamabadโ€™s district courts complex. So we know what it feels like. While it is a sad situation, the question is: what can private citizens do about something like terrorism? I suppose only the state can stop it. Quite naturally, the incident received condemnation from all over the country. In Islamabadโ€™s legal community, however, the incident triggered a heated debate about the lawyersโ€™ strikes and the legal status of this practice. Unlike terrorist strikes, the issue of lawyersโ€™ strikes is something on which the informed opinion of citizens and young lawyers can actually make a difference. In fact, it makes all the difference. Since this debate has far-reaching implications for the court system all over the country, let me recap it for the for the benefit of the wider reading public. First, a quick background about the locus of the discussion. The discussion took place on a WhatsApp forum called โ€œLaw Talksโ€, hosted by two young and ambitious Islamabad-based High Court lawyers. On this forum, more than two hundred and fifty of the cityโ€™s practicing lawyers regularly discuss legal and socio-legal issues. Immediately after the incident, the administrator of the group asked the newly-elected President of the Islamabad High Court Bar Association: โ€œWill the lawyers call a strike tomorrow against the brutal attack?โ€ Past experience had given us ample cause to expect that the answer would be โ€œYesโ€. For more than half a decade, I have personally witnessed justice being defeated in this countryโ€™s court system by its worst enemy: delay. In an op-ed I wrote recently, I pointed out that, contrary to popular opinion, shortage of judges is not the only cause behind the enormous delays encountered by litigants in our court system[1]. Itโ€™s probably not even the most significant cause. Delay is the product of a perverse legal culture which has taken hold of our community. The practice of frequent โ€œlawyersโ€™ strikesโ€ is an integral part of this culture. The figures are astounding. In the year 2014, my research concluded that the Islamabad District Bar Association had called for strike on more than 50 days of the year[2]. In such conditions, a common law system such as ours, where judges rely heavily upon lawyers, simply cannot function. Before proceeding further, let me clarify that I do not intend to vilify the bar leaders who frequently call for strikes. They, like other actors in the game, act in response to the larger institutional environment of our judicial system. The sociology of the lawyersโ€™ strikes is complex and understudied. We need to use an evidence-based method for answering the basic question: who wins and who loses from lawyersโ€™ strikes. But that discussion is for another day. Here, let us come back to the Whatsapp discussion. The thing is that after the Charsadda terrorist incident, when everyone was anticipating a call for strike โ€“ for one full court day, possibly 3 days, even a whole week โ€“ the newly elected President gave us a huge surprise: โ€œNo strike. Please pray for the deceased and condemn the terroristโ€,ย he announced on the WhatsApp group. Young lawyers flocked in support of the bar leaderโ€™s unexpected decision. A senior government lawyer also wrote in support: โ€œCondemnation of Charsadda event and solidarity and dua for the affectees is in order. Strike is notโ€ฆ Decision of the IHCBA โ€ฆ will help curb the unhealthy trend of frequently calling strikesโ€. Taking a cue from the changing winds, even an old time bar leader, who in his tenure had been quite comfortable with exploiting the politics of strikes, added: โ€œStrikes are not the solution. Just pray for them collectively during the intervals in court dayโ€. For a while, it seemed that both young lawyers and senior bar leaders had reached a consensus that the era of strikes should be behind us. One minute later, these hopes were dashed. โ€œAs per decision of Pakistan Bar Council, lawyers of Islamabad will also observe a strike tomorrow,โ€ the President then announced. So, this time around, it wasnโ€™t the angry, young, briefless lawyers of the district Bar Associations pushing for strikes. It was the venerable Pakistan Bar Council itself, a body comprising exclusively of senior Supreme Court lawyers, who were indulging in opportunistic politics. The Notification issued by the PBC that day reads as follows[3]: โ€œDr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem, Vice-Chairman and Mr. Abdul Fayaz, Chairman, Executive Committee, Pakistan Bar Council have strongly condemned the terrorists attack in Courts of Shabqadar, Charsadda, KP in which more than 13 innocent persons including two clerks of lawyers and police officials, have been martyred whereas two lawyers being in critical condition, are in the ICU of a local hospital besides many others seriously injured. For condemnation of this tragic incident they have appealed the lawyers to observe country wide strike tomorrow, i.e. Tuesday, the 8th March, 2016. The lawyers, as such, while observing strike will hold protest meetings in their bar rooms and wear black bands to condemn the tragic incident. Deploring the utter failure of the federal and KP governments in maintaining law and order situation in the province and to provide security and safety to the people, they have demanded the government to arrest the culprits and bring them to book at the earliest. While expressing solidarity with bereaved families, on behalf of the legal fraternity, they have emphasized the need of evolving foolproof practical strategy and plan for improving the law and order situation in and around courts throughout Pakistan ensuring safety and security of the judges, lawyers and litigants. โ€“ SECRETARYโ€ One of the lawyers on the group, who himself practices in the Supreme Court, immediately caught on the irony of the situation. He asked,ย โ€œ[IF SC lawyers sitting in

No More Strikes, Please!

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