Salient Features of 1956 Constitution
The salient features of 1956 Constitution of Pakistan are as follows
A Written and Lengthy Document
The 1st Constitution of Republic of Pakistan was written in nature. It consisted of 234 Articles and 6 Schedules. Hence it was one of the lengthiest constitutions of the world as it regulated the activities and jurisdiction of not only the central government but also those of the provincial governments. In this way unlike the US Federation, the federating units did not have their separate constitutions.
Islamic Provisions in 1956 Constitution
Pakistan was achieved on the name of Islam. The Objective Resolution was included in the Preamble of the constitution, which acknowledged sovereignty of God on the universe. Initiative was made that Muslims of Pakistan should implement the teaching of Quran and Sunnah in their lives. The President of Pakistan must be a Muslim. Non-Muslims were also protected and considered as citizens of Pakistan.
The constitution embodied all the features of federation. There were three legislative lists Federal, Provincial and Concurrent. Federal List contained 30 Subjects, the Provincial 94 and in the Concurrent List only 19 Subjects were enumerated. Both the central and provincial legislatures could also make laws regarding Concurrent subjects. However, in case of conflict the central law would prevail. All the residuary powers were entrusted to the provinces, which sowed decentralization of authorities so as to meet the demands of provincial autonomy. In case of conflict between the centre and the provinces, the Chief Justice of Pakistan would have to settle the dispute.
Parliamentary Form of Government
Under the constitution parliamentary form of government was adopted. All the ministers were supposed to be the members of Parliament and they remained in office so long as they retained the confidence of the majority members in the Assembly. They were individually as well as collectively responsible to the National Assembly and had to participate in its proceedings and to guide legislation. The Assembly had the power, to pass a vote of no confidence against the ministry. The President was the Head of State while the Prime Minister was the Head of Government.