Today marks the 72nd Republic Day of India. On this day in 1950, the longest written constitution of the world came into effect replacing the Government of India act of 1935. Every year ceremonious parades are performed at Rajpath in New Delhi and India’s successful constitutional journey is celebrated.
However the constitutional history across the border in Pakistan has not been as victorious as in the Republic of India. It took Pakistan 9 years after independence to produce its first constitution which was rejected on the day of its adoption due to lack of consensus.
Pakistan’s system has oscillated between civilian and military governments at various times throughout its political history, mainly due to political instability, civil-military conflicts, political corruption, and the periodic coup d’états by the military establishment against civilian governments, resulting in the enforcement of martial law various times across the country.
Military dictator General Ayub Khan who had taken over in Pakistan enacted the 1962 constitution in 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 and General Musharraf in 1985 and 2002, the military regimes amended the constitution in ways that fundamentally changed its character.
Pakistan’s constitution was again reinstated in 2003 after its overthrow in 1999 by the military government. In the current system of Pakistan, which is based on the 1973 constitution, the Prime Minister is the head of executive. The nation has a purely parliamentary form of government since 2010.