Yahya Khan made the following broadcast two days before the Legal
Framework Order was promulgated. In it, he outlined various aspects
of the Order.
President Yahya Khan's Broadcast
March 28, 1970
In my address to the nation on the November 28 last
I had, as you know, given out a plan for the- transfer of power
to the elected representatives of the people and had indicated certain
major policy decisions that I had taken.
It is a matter of great personal satisfaction to
me that the plan that I had laid before the nation was accepted
by the people in every part of the country with great enthusiasm.
This fact reaffirmed my assumption that the proposals outlined by
me were based on popular wish. Let me now apprise you of the progress
that has been made towards the achievement of the various objectives
mentioned in the plan.
The Committee appointed for the purpose of working
out the details of the dissolution of one unit has completed its
draft action plan and has submitted its proposals with regard-to
financial and administrative arrangements.
A President's order setting out all the relevant
details will be published shortly.
The provincial administration of each new province
of West Pakistan will be in position soon and will become fully
operative by the 1st of July 1970, which is the commencement of
the new financial year.
Thereafter, West Pakistan will revert as closely
as possible to the pre-one-unit position.
The arrangements for the holding of elections are
going according to plan .and the Chief Election Commissioner has
kept you informed of developments from time to time. I foresee no
difficulty whatsoever in keeping to the date that I had indicated
in my last address.
The legal framework order 1970 will be published
on the 30th of this month (March, 1970). This order will form the
main base for the operation of the National Assembly in their task
of constitution making. I might at this stage mention some of the
salient features of this order which has been formulated as a result
of my assessment of the wishes of the people. .
The National Assembly will consist of a total of
313 members. Of these, 13 seats will be reserved for women. The
allocation of seats to various provinces will be based on the population
as recorded in the census of 1961 which is the latest official record
available to the Government.
The order also provides for the holding of elections
to the Provincial Assemblies.
At one stage, when plans for the transfer of power
were being formulated, our thinking was that election to the Provincial
Assemblies should be held after the constitution is finalised, the
question was further examined in greater detail by my Government
and we have come to the conclusion that politically it will be in
the country's interest to hold the provincial elections soon after
the elections to the National Assembly.
The main reason for this is that it will facilitate
and speed up the transfer of power to the elected representatives
as soon as the constitution is finalised. Further, it will relieve
the politicians and their parties from a new election campaign immediately
after the business of constitution making is over. I consider that
once the constitutional issues are settled, our leaders should address
themselves to the major nation-building tasks rather than entering
into a fresh round of electioneering.
"Taking all these factors into consideration
I have decided that provincial elections will be held not later
than October 22, 1970. The Provincial Assemblies would, however,
start functioning, when duly summoned, after the constitution has
been framed and authenticated by me.
When the Legal Framework Order 1970 is published
you will notice that in the schedule dealing with the Rules of Procedure,
the voting procedure for the National Assembly has not been included.
This is a matter which is best settled by the house itself and it
is my earnest hope that there would not be too much divergence in
views on this issue. Unanimity would of course be ideal. In any
case I do not personally like to talk on this subject on the basis
The point that I made earlier and would like to emphasise
again is that a constitution is not an ordinary piece of legislation
but it is an agreement to live together. It is therefore essential
that all regions are reasonably satisfied with the voting procedure
that may be evolved by the house because unless they are so satisfied,
the constitution will not readily and genuinely be acceptable to
the people of different provinces and regions as such a document
should be. I am sure it should be possible to arrive at some suitable
The Legal Framework Order does not only state how
the Assembly will come into being, what its strength would be and
such other matters relating to the setting up of this Assembly,
but it also lays down certain basic principles for the future constitution
of Pakistan. Most of these principles are based on previous constitutions
but I thought it necessary to highlight some of these in the Order
so that the Assembly makes a constitution which is acceptable to
the people of Pakistan as a whole.
Firstly, the Order lays down that the constitution
of Pakistan must preserve Islamic ideology which, as we all know,
was the basis of the creation of Pakistan.
Secondly, the constitution must ensure independence,
territorial integrity and national solidarity of Pakistan. In order
to attain these objectives it has been laid down in the Legal Framework
Order that the territories now and hereafter included in Pakistan
must be united in a federal union which must preserve the territorial
unity of the State of Pakistan which will be called the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan.
The third fundamental principle of the future constitution
is that it must be a democratic one in which such basic ingredients
of democracy as free and periodical elections on the basis of population
and direct adult franchise are included. Further, the constitution
must include the independence of judiciary, and the fundamental
rights of the citizens.
The fourth basic principle of the new constitution
is that it must be a true federal one in which powers including
legislative, administrative and financial shall be so distributed
between the Federal Government and the provinces that the provinces
shall have maximum autonomy, that is to say, maximum legislative,
administrative and financial powers, and the Federal Government
shall have adequate powers including legislative, administrative
and financial powers to discharge its responsibilities in relation
to external and internal affairs and to preserve the independence
and territorial integrity of the country.
The fifth principle of the constitution is that it
must provide full opportunity to the people of all regions of Pakistan
for participation in national affairs so that they can live together
as equal and honourable partners and be moulded into a strong nation
as visualised by the Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad
It is, therefore, laid down in the Legal Framework
Order that opportunities must be made available to the people of
various regions of Pakistan for enabling them to participate in
all branches of national activity, and to achieve this objective
there must be statutory provision to remove all disparities in particular
economic disparity, among the various provinces of Pakistan within
a fixed period.
The dissatisfaction which has arisen in some regions
of the country as a result of disparity in economic development
has created a big challenge to our emerging nationalism. We must,
therefore, concentrate our attention and energy to remove this sort
of discontentment by eliminating its cause.
I hope all of you will agree with me that while in
the future National Government people of every region must have
the fullest opportunity to play their part in national affairs,
the unity and integrity of Pakistan must be preserved and must not
be allowed to be adversely affected on regional and parochial grounds.
Pakistan was established on the basis of the idea
of one homeland for the Muslims of this subcontinent. It was achieved
at the cost of the lives of a million Muslims. We cannot allow that
sacrifice to go in vain. The assertion of Quaid-i-Azam that 'Pakistan
has come to stay* must be upheld at any cost. This is an assumption
over which there can never be any debate.
I would like to offer my comments on a fear that
has been expressed in certain quarters that it would not be possible
for the National Assembly to make a constitution within the stipulated
period of 120 days. I must express my complete disagreement with
this point of view. I believe that given the will and a spirit of
accommodation which the nation has a right to expect from its responsible
representatives, the National Assembly, will find no difficulty
in completing its task within the given time.
As we all know the Members will have two or three
drafts available to them for their consideration in the form of
previous constitution. So it is not as if this Assembly will have
to start from scratch.
The basic groundwork in respect of the preamble,
the Directive Principles and many other matters, has already been
done in the previous constitutions and most of it continues to apply.
I may also add that I have done everything possible to facilitate
and speed up the Assembly's work. Adult franchise, population basis
and dismemberment of one unit are now settled issues. On the procedural
side a complete set of Rules of Procedure will be included as a
schedule in the Legal Framework Order.
It was against this background that my Government
had carefully worked out a reasonable period for framing the constitution
and we considered that a 120 days would be quite adequate. Let us
therefore eschew all further doubts and fears on this account.
In the end, my dear countrymen, I would like to say
once again that it is my own and my Government's firm resolve to
bring back democracy to our country. I need hardly say that in the
achievement of this objective we expect full cooperation and unflinching
support from every one of you. For without such cooperation and
support our task will be made infinitely more difficult.
Our people are intensely patriotic. They will, there
fore, tolerate most things except an act of sabotage against the
integrity of Pakistan. If anyone thinks that he can let down the
country and the people or entertain any ideas of destroying the
basic unity of our people, he is very much mistaken. The people
will not stand for this.
As I said earlier, everyone has a right to offer
his solution to the constitutional, political, economic and administrative
problems of the country, but no one has a right to offer a solution
which would adversely affect the solidarity of the people of Pakistan.
This no one would tolerate. We will refuse to be silent spectators
to any attacks against Pakistan's entity as a nation.
Major changes cannot be brought about without courage
and patriotism of the highest order on the part of the whole nation.
The country is passing through a phase when personal and all other
considerations must be sacrificed for the bigger cause-the cause
Let me assure you that I have not the slightest doubt
that by the grace of Almighty God, we shall overcome our present
Go to Legal Framework
Source: Election Handbook 1970 by S.G.M.
Publishing and Marketing Associates Ltd, Karachi (1970)
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