Seminar on Constitutional History of Pakistan
A Seminar was arranged by Department of History & Pakistan Studies, The Women University Multan, entitled “Constitutional History of Pakistan.” The Focal person was Dr.Attiya Khanam, Assistant Professor (TTS), History. It was organized by Dr. Rashida Ahmad, Assistant Professor (TTS), Pakistan Studies and Dr. Attiya Khanam. By the end of World War II, the British imperial government granted independence to its Indian colony and for that matter the British Parliament enacted the Indian Independence Act, 1947. Under the Act, the British Crown relinquished its sovereign powers over India and transferred those powers to the newly established dominions of India and Pakistan on 14 August 1947. The Government of India Act, 1935, hitherto the constitution of British India, was amended to bring it in consonance with the aims and objectives of independence as laid down in the 1947 Act. The combination of these two constitutional instruments served as an interim constitutional order for both countries until their respective constituent assemblies adopted their own constitutions.Following independence, it took three Governor Generals, four Prime Ministers, two constituent assemblies (1947-1954 & 1955-1956), and nine years of protracted constitution making process to produce the first constitution of Pakistan in 1956. Between its promulgation and abrogation, four federal ministries changed. The military dictator General Ayub Khan, who had taken over the reins of power, enacted the 1962 constitution to the country through an executive order. The current constitution, enacted by the third constituent assembly in 1973, was twice suspended by military coups of General Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1985) and General Musharraf (1999-2002), and at the time of its ‘restoration’, both in 1985 and 2002, the military regimes amended it in ways that fundamentally changed its Islamic and federal character. The ensuing parliaments on both occasions were forced to give constitutional cover via the 8th and 17th Amendments to the acts of suspensions of the constitution, and all other acts of the military dictators during the period between the suspension and restoration of the constitution.In the constitution making processes in the three constituent assemblies of Pakistan (1947-1954, 1955-1956, 1972-1973), producing the 1956 and (current) 1973 constitutions, the Islamic character of the state and federalism were the two vexatious questions that prevented the forging of consensus amongst etho national groups on constitutional design of the instruments that have governed the polity thus far.
These facts and figures were very well presented by the students of 6th semester through their multimedia presentations supplemented by video clips. The guest Speaker was Dr. Tayyaba Muzzamil, ex.HOD, Department of Political Science and IR, Government College Women University Faisalabad. Her areas of expertise are political and constitutional history of Pakistan, Gender Studies and Human Rights. The seminar was well attended by students and faculty of History and Pakistan Studies.