following broadcast was made before Ayub signed the Constitution.
It was also handed over to the editors of all Pakistani newspapers
along with copies of the Constitution and the Report of the Constitution
Commission when they met the President at Karachi on the evening
of February 28, 1962.
President Ayub's Speech
Announcing the Constitution
My fellow countrymen, As-salam Alaikum
I want your attention to what I am going to say as
it vitally affects your future and that of the country. The subject-matter
of my talk is our future Constitution.
On the 8th October 1958, I gave a radio talk and
made certain solemn promises. God has been kind in enabling me to
fulfil most of those. Amongst the remaining, the most important
is the one relating to the Constitution. In this connection I used
the following terms:
"Let me announce in unequivocal
terms that our ultimate aim is to restore democracy but of the
type that people can understand and work. When the time comes
your opinion will be freely asked. But when that will be, events
alone can tell. Meanwhile, we have to put this mess right and
put the country on an even keel."
Today, I consider myself fortunate to be in a position
to say that the Constitution is now ready and I am now going to
As you know, a great deal of thought and effort has
gone into the collection, examination and formulation of proposals
leading to the decisions incorporated in the new Constitution.
On the 17th February 1960, the Constitution Commission
of Pakistan, composed of eminent men from various walks of life,
was appointed to advise how best to secure a democracy adaptable
to changing circumstances and based on the Islamic principles of
justice, equality and tolerance; the consolidation of national unity;
and a firm and stable system of government.
After examining 6,269 replies to its questionnaire
and interviewing 565 persons in both wings of the country, the Commission
submitted its report on the 6th May, 1961.
Since its submission, the Report has been examined
in every possible detail by several committees appointed by the
Cabinet and also by the Cabinet as a whole. The decisions as finally
drafted are the outcome of all these exhaustive examinations, and,
represent, as far as humanly possible, the results of mature and
honest assessment of the lessons of our past, the experience of
the last 3 years and the requirements of the foreseeable future.
I am grateful to all those who helped me in evolving
this scheme. My special thanks are due to ex-Chief Justice Mr. Shahabuddin,
the Chairman of the Constitution Commission, who produced an excellent
report, which will be published and which served as the working
draft. I am also grateful to Mr. Manzur Qadir, who took infinite
pains in helping me in the production of the final draft. I have
come across very few people who can surpass the sincerity, integrity
and patriotism of these two.
The Constitution is being published in English, Bengali
and Urdu in simple language and in large numbers for wide distribution
and understanding. People can be expected to defend it only when
they understand its meaning and spirit. I hope most of you will
acquire copies in due course and study it in full. Here, I shall
only attempt to give you its outline and salient points:
(1) Our aim is to have representative institutions
based on the will of the people. They shall be the final arbiters
of who shall govern them and how. In other words, people shall
have the right to hire and fire their rulers. This is basic.
(2) There will be a President, a Central Legislature
and a Legislature in each Province, headed by an appointed Governor.
Their term will be 5 years.
(3) The above will be elected by an electoral college
consisting of the elected members of Basic Democracies, who in
turn will be elected by universal adult franchise.
(4) The judicial power has been vested in the Supreme
Court in the Centre and the High Courts in the two Provinces.
(5) There will be only one list of subjects of
national character, which will be the exclusive concern of the
Centre. All other subjects will be left to the Provinces. However,
the Centre would be able to legislate for in the Provincial field
where matters relating to Security, Coordination of Economic Development
and Coordination between the two Provinces is involved. Such occasions
should be rare. Even in these cases, execution will rest with
the Provinces. The underlying theme is that what can be done on
a Provincial basis ought to be done on that basis.
(7) Fundamental rights have been made the principles
of law-making and every care taken that the law-makers observe
(8) Since it is in the interest of the country
that proper men are elected for the Presidentship and the Legislatures,
the State shall give all facilities to candidates to project themselves
to the voters and the voters to assess the merits of the candidates.
(6) The principles of policy have been included
in the Constitution and the responsibility of observing them has
been placed upon each organ of the State and on each individual
discharging any function on behalf of the State, so far as they
concern him. To enable Muslims to lead their lives according to
the teachings of Islam, to safeguard the rights of the minorities,
to promote the interests of backward areas, to attain balanced
development of all parts of Pakistan, to observe parity between
the two Provinces, are some of the principles of policy. These
principles of policy are by and large substantially the same as
the Directive Principles in the last Constitution.
(9) Political parties are banned unless allowed
for by an act of the National Assembly.
(10) In order that Muslims are enabled to lead
their lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam, provision
has been made to set up an "Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology."
This body will consist of eminent men in theology, law, economics,
administration, etc. and will be supported by the Islamic Research
Centre. Whenever in doubt. Legislatures and the President will
consult this body to make sure that laws conform to the requirements
of Islam and observe the fundamentals of law making. The advice
of the Council will be made public.
(11) The Constitution will be capable of amendment
if 2/3 of the National Assembly and the President agree. 3/4 majority
of the House will over-ride the President's veto, unless he refers
the matter to a referendum or dissolves the Assembly and seeks
(12) This, in brief, is the outline of the Constitution.
I shall now touch on each institution.
(13) The President shall be a Muslim and will be
head of the Executive Government. He will appoint Ministers to
help him discharge his duties. Those Ministers appointed from
the Legislature shall resign their seats from the House. The Ministers
shall, however, have the right of attending the House without
the right of vote. To assist the Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries
from amongst the Legislature will be appointed. They will retain
their membership of the House.
(14) The bills passed by the Assembly would require
the assent of the President. The President's veto can however
be over-ridden by 2/3 majority of the Assembly.
(15) When the Assembly is not in session, the President
can make Ordinances for not more than six months. These will lapse
after six months unless passed by the Assembly as laws.
(16) The President can dissolve the Assembly under
certain circumstances, in which case he too will have to seek
re-election for continuance.
(17) The President can be impeached by the Assembly
by 3/4 majority for misconduct. He can be similarly removed for
physical or mental incapacity. However, to prevent irresponsible
moves of this nature, the movers will cease to be members of the
National Assembly if they fail to get the support even of 1/2
of the members.
(18) In the event of the President becoming a casualty
or during this absence from the country or removal, the Speaker
of the National Assembly will officiate. A convention will be
established that if the President is from West Pakistan, the Speaker
will be from East Pakistan and vice versa.
(19) The President can be elected only for
two terms unless specially permitted by the joint session of the
members of the National and Provincial Assemblies. There is also
a provision for screening of the Presidential candidates by these
bodies. Only a limited number will be allowed to contest to ensure
that whoever wins the elections would be an appropriate person.
(20) The National Assembly will consist of
150 general members, 75 from each Province. They will be elected
by the elected members of Basic Democracies. In addition, there
will be 6 women members, 3 from each Province. The electoral college
for them will be the Provincial Assemblies. This has been done
to save them having to cover vast constituencies. In addition,
women can also contest from general seats if they wish.
(21) The National Assembly is the source of law.
(22) In order to reduce chances of conflict between
the Assembly and the President and to prevent paralysis of the
administration and to ensure continuance of on-going schemes,
it has been laid down that the previously passed budget shall
not be altered without the permission of the President, and new
taxation shall not be levied without the consent of the National
Assembly. This is based on the theory that the President is finally
responsible to the country for administration and the members
of the National Assembly represent the feeling of the people who
have to pay taxes.
(23) To check misconduct on the part of the members
of the House, the Speaker will have the power to refer such cases
to the Supreme Court for disciplinary action.
(24) Because of the sad experience of political
parties in the past and the fact that if allowed to re-emerge
today they cannot be any different from what they were before,
and the fact that the Martial Law has to stay until the National
Assembly takes over, the coming elections will be held on the
basis of personal merit. The criterion will be the candidate's
faith in Pakistan, its ideology and his known personal conduct
and behaviour. Would he help in building a united, disciplined
and stable Pakistan or not? To my mind, there can be no criterion
better than this to judge a person's worth. Certainly no party
manifesto can be better than this.
(25) In our case, political party activity only
divides and confuses the people further and lays them open to
exploitation by the unscrupulous and demagogues. So, I believe
that if we can run our politics without the party system, we shall
have cause to bless ourselves, though I recognise that like-minded
people in the Assemblies will group themselves together. That
is not serious, but what is dangerous is for these groups to have
tentacles in the country. However, should this experiment prove
unworkable, which I don't believe, then the party system could
be revived only with the permission of the National Assembly.
This will ensure that the parties are limited in number and have
respectable and healthy national programmes.
(26) It is sometimes argued that the canvassing
for candidates, and especially for the Presidential candidates,
will become difficult without the assistance of a party organization.
That undoubtedly is a problem and that is why the Constitution
has provided that the State shall assist the candidates for projecting
themselves to the electoral college.
(27) They will be appointed by the President and
shall be responsible to him for the good government of the Provinces
in accordance with the Constitution. They too will appoint Ministers
with the concurrence of the President. The relationship of the
Governors and their Ministers with the Provincial Assemblies will
be similar to that obtaining between the President, his Ministers
and the National Assembly. They can appoint Parliamentary Secretaries
as in the Centre. In order to prevent abuse, the number of Parliamentary
Secretaries, both at the Centre and Provinces, shall not exceed
the number of Departments.
(28) Each Assembly shall consist of 150 general
members. In the West Pakistan Assembly, 40 per cent of the members
will be elected from the old Punjab and Bahawalpur and the remaining
60 per cent from the other areas. This arrangement will obtain
for 10 years or two normal election periods. In addition, there
will be 5 women members in each Assembly. They will be elected
by their respective Provincial Assembly.
(29) The responsibility for ensuring that
no law is made which is contrary to fundamental human rights has
been placed upon the law-makers. Principles have been enunciated
for the law-makers which they are under obligation to observe.
The first of these principles is that no law shall be made that
is repugnant to Islam. The second is that all citizens shall be
treated alike in all respects. There are 15 such principles of
law-making set out in the Constitution. In case the Centre or
the Provincial Legislature is in doubt whether a provision in
any proposed law is or is not repugnant to Islam or at variance
with any other principle, it has been made possible for it to
refer the question for advice to a body set up under the Constitution
to be called the "Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology."
A position has thus been brought under which the functions of
the Courts will be to take notice of and to rectify breaches of
the law. Any person who has not been treated in accordance with
law or who is treated otherwise than in accordance with law will
have the right to go to a Court with his grievance whether it
is against a private person, a public servant, and official agency
or a department of the Government. No Court, however, shall be
at liberty to refuse to enforce a law because it is of the opinion
that the law is not in accordance with the principles of law-making
The relevant opinion for this purpose is the opinion of the law-makers
and nobody else.
Fundamental rights have thus been secured in the
Constitution without the complication of all laws never reaching
the stage of complete certainty because they remain perpetually
susceptible to challenge in a Court of Law. Though it is frequently
said that this challenge guarantees rights of the citizens, in
actual practice it is usually only a rich litigant who can afford
to engage the best available legal talent to throw out a challenge
to a law for getting rid of something that operates to his disadvantage,
irrespective of whether it is to the advantage of the community
at large or not, and frequently holds up indefinitely the implementation
of beneficial schemes. The scheme adopted in the Constitution
brings our position on the same lines as the position existing
(30) Judiciary will have its own built-in arrangement
for maintaining internal discipline.
(31) Service rights have been guaranteed
to public servants in the usual way. In respect of dismissal,
removal, reduction in rank, stipulated pension and the age of
superannuation, a public servant has been given the right to go
to the High Court in a jurisdiction which up to now has been called
Writ Jurisdiction. In respect of other matters, however, like
leave, transfer, promotion, etc., the public servant is only under
the disciplinary control of a departmental nature, but it has
been provided that he must have the right to at least one departmental
(32) That completes the broad description of the
institutions. I shall now draw your attention to the salient points
of the Constitution and the reason why they have been adopted.
(33) We have adopted the Presidential System as
it is simpler to work, more akin to our genius and history, and
less liable to lead to instability-a luxury that a developing
country like ours cannot afford. The other alternative was the
Parliamentary System. This we tried and it failed. Not that there
is anything inherently wrong with it. The trouble is that we have
not yet attained several sophistications that are necessary for
its successful operation. For it to work you need democratic institutions
right down to villages, trade unions and co-operatives on large
scale to give people training in the spirit of give and take,
and dispassionate consideration of problems. You need much higher
level of education, prosperity, public spirit and integrity. Above
all, you need really cool and phlegmatic temperament, which only
people living in cold climates seem to have. Also it requires
long period of probation. For instance, the British took 600 years
of trial and tribulations to reach this stage. Looking around
the world you notice that this system has only worked successfully
in Britain and the Scandinavian countries. Elsewhere it has not
taken real roots. Even France which gave birth to liberal philosophy
has not been able to work it. So don't let us kid ourselves and
cling to cliches and assume that we are ready to work such a refined
system knowing the failure of earlier attempts. It will be foolhardy
to try it again until our circumstances change radically.
In that system, the Chief Executive-the Prime Minister-must
have the support of a majority of the members of the House, at
all times. If Parliamentary traditions have taken root in a country,
any member of the House, who withdraws his support, after pledging
it, will have to account for it before the bar of public opinion.
In our conditions, however, there is no mechanism
which will automatically operate to prevent members from selling
their support or from charging a price for continuing to give
support. The whole process of Government thus becomes liable to
be subverted in the first instance, to placating those members
without whose support the government in power would fall. The
only insurance against such an eventuality in our conditions is
to release the Chief Executive from the obligation of having to
be sustained artificially so as to enable him to get on with the
functions entrusted to him for the benefit of the people at large.
(34) Our system of Basic Democracies is probably
unique. It is already breeding pride, hope, sense of participation
and responsibility in large numbers. of people and laying a real
base for a democratic society. We should do all we can to nurse
it. In addition, the elected members from amongst them will be
called upon to act as an electoral college as described already.
In other words, the broad masses of people elect the electoral
college, who in turn elect National and Provincial institutions.
The reason for this is simple. We are recognizing an obvious truth
that the ballot can only produce a true answer if those exercising
it are asked questions in level with their horizon and knowledge.
If this is done, by and large the answer will be right. The election
to Basic Democracies has proved it and I have no doubt that, Insha-Allah,
the general election will confirm it. Whilst saying this, I am
not claiming that some voters will not go wrong, but in human
affairs a 100 per cent result is unrealistic to expect, especially
where a society has not yet matured. Anyhow, the voters will be
less liable to be exploited and misled in this system than in
direct elections where they were driven as cattle to polling booths.
In fact, the direct elections amongst us were far less direct
than the system I am now proposing. In that all you had to do
was to get hold of or fix a few leading people, and the rest then
followed them. This won't happen and can't happen in my system
as everyone of these voters is a person of substance in his community.
Another reason for adopting the indirect election system is that
if we were to have direct adult franchise, the elections would
be delayed for another year or two for preparing fresh electoral
rolls as the present ones are some years old. Besides, that system
of elections is far too expensive. It was estimated that the 1958
general elections would have cost the country around six crores
of rupees. Can this country afford such a waste?
While saying this, I am conscious of the fact that
some sections of intelligentsia and those with vested interests
may have cause to complain. I do not see any reason why a suitable
formula cannot be evolved later which will give them a feeling
of full participation. The need of today, however, is that the
Constitution should be brought in quickly, and that can be done
only if the electoral college of Basic Democracies is used for
the elections. Any innovation or addition at this stage will be
time-consuming and will delay the Constitution, which obviously
is undesirable from every angle.
I might also add that in future there will be no
nominations to Basic Democracies. Consequently, their number will
increase from 80,000 to 1,20,000, unless it is decided to enlarge
it still further.
(35) Friction between the executive and the legislature
often arises over money bills with damaging effects on the administration
and development projects. Our Constitution, by dividing the budget
between committed and fresh taxation and making the President
dominant in one and the legislature in the other, will obviate
or eliminate unnecessary clashes. I would not be a bit surprised
if this formula is being tried for the first time.
(36) The wish to get good people elected is universal,
but in actual fact the community makes no real attempt to help
them. In our Constitution, the State will assume the responsibility
of helping candidates project themselves before the electorate,
who must, of course, remain free to elect as they like.
(37) In a Presidential System so much depends on
choosing the right man as the President. So the community must
make certain that only suitable candidates are allowed to contest.
In our case, a joint session of the National and Provincial Assemblies
will screen candidates. Normally three candidates will be allowed
to contest unless the sitting President is also eligible and willing
to contest, in which case the number will be four.
(38) We are an ideological State and the basis
of our nationality is the ideology of Islam. Whilst making material
progress, we naturally wish to do so under the umbrella of Islamic
spiritual and moral values. To achieve this is a continuous process
and affects every aspect of life. We have therefore provided an
organization called the "Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology."
This body will consist of experts from many fields and it will
be backed by eminent research scholars. Whilst making laws, the
President and the Legislatures have been enjoined to seek their
advice for giving them an Islamic bent. By this process and the
fact that religious education has been made compulsory up to 8th
class, the curriculum in religious institutions in general and
the Auqaf institutions in particular is being revised and balanced,
we hope to attain our goal in due course in a well considered
and sound fashion.
(39) Notice the processes laid down for the amendment
of the Constitution. The variation takes into consideration the
importance of different parts. Unless the President and the National
Assembly agree on 2/3 majority, the process becomes more difficult
so as to prevent changes being made without due consideration
and in haste. In cases requiring major structural changes, it
may even be necessary to refer the matter to people for a referendum.
My view about the Constitution is that it should not be too easy
to change, yet changes should not be made too difficult. This
is the only way stability, natural evolution and freedom from
revolutions can be ensured. I believe also that in a society like
ours, which is launching forth on wide education, industrialization
and modernization and is becoming dynamic, it would be necessary
to look into the Constitution every twenty years or so to make
it conform to social, economic and political changes. I would
commend this for the consideration of future generations. Meanwhile,
this Constitution can only stand as a whole. If any attempt is
made radically to change any of its main elements, the rest can't
stand. This must be understood clearly.
(40) This Constitution expects positive results
from the institutions. Having created them, it expects them to
function freely within the law and produce results. It also provides
built-in disciplinary arrangements in order to prevent abuse of
law and transgressions and breakdown. In other words, the Constitution
gives free field to do good, but it will not feel shy to curb
evil. It embodies a blending of democracy with discipline, the
two pre-requisites to running a free society with stable government
and sound administration.
This in brief is the philosophy behind some of the
salient points in the Constitution. These salient points are my
humble contribution and are based on long association with the administration
at the highest level, detailed knowledge of the country and the
people, wide study, deep and prolonged thought and a burning desire
to help the people in building the country into a sound, vigorous,
progressive and powerful State. I believe in every word of this
Constitution and have complete faith in it. I believe also that
the country can reach its cherished goal by following it. I therefore
commend it to you all with fervent prayers that God in His infinite
mercy grant us wisdom, courage and faith to work the Constitution
truly and loyally for our betterment and the betterment of future
generations and above all for vindication of faith and belief of
those who under the great leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohamed Ali
Jinnah struggled so hard and suffered so much for the creation of
Pakistan. Amen! Pakistan Paindabad.
Source: Documents and Speeches on the Constitution
By G. W. Choudhury (1967). Green Book House, Dacca (East Pakistan)
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