Golden Jubilee of the Constitution | By Naveed Aman Khan


Golden Jubilee of the Constitution

THE joint session of parliament is likely to be held on April 10 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan to highlight the importance of this document and sensitize citizens about their rights and responsibilities. Constitution is the only document which can guide the nation on the path of development and prosperity. Fifty years ago on April 10, 1973, the NA of Pakistan passed the Constitution under the government of the then Premier Z A Bhutto. The president of the NA authenticated it on April 12, 1973, and it practically came into effect. The Constitutional Accord was signed on October 20,1972 by veteran members of Parliament. The 18th Constitutional Amendment and Charter of Democracy are considered to be the landmark achievements of PPP.

The year-long Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Constitution of Pakistan were started by holding a simple ceremony near the monument of unsung heroes “Wall of Democracy” installed at the green belt of Parliament House. FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was the chief guest of the inaugural ceremony at Parliament House. The monument is constructed to pay glowing tributes to unsung heroes, who rendered unmatched sacrifices for the promotion and upholding of democracy in the country. The monument which remained a no-go area during the PTI era would be improved further. The Golden Jubilee celebrations are aimed at making the youth aware of the importance of the Constitution of Pakistan. Five decades have passed and it’s imperative to bring facts before the nation. Comprehensive chain of events have been chalked out to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Constitution in a befitting manner.

The slogan is ‘my Constitution, my guarantee for freedom’. Speakers of Parliament from all over the world have been invited to participate in the celebrations. The government has arranged various programmes at the provincial and national levels to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. These celebrations have commenced from the Wall of Democracy to eulogize the services of defenders of democracy. The Wall was created during the PPP government, but it was declared a restricted area during the successive regime. The constitutional path is the only way to overcome the prevailing crises. All the Pakistanis need to remain within their constitutional limits no matter who is who. After Quaid’s demise the first Constitution of 1956 was created and was signed by freedom fighters and Pakistan Movement leaders. Former dictator Ayub Khan abrogated the Constitution. Z A Bhutto gathered the people from all walks of life including workers, women, journalists, writers, and farmers after assuming power. It was Z A Bhutto who gave a unanimous constitution.

Like the Constitution of 1956 but unlike the Constitution of 1962, the Constitution of 1973, provides Pakistan with a parliamentary form of government. The Constitution of 1973 requires two-thirds majority of Parliament for making amendments in it. The 1973 Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to the citizens of Pakistan. According to the 1973 Constitution the executive authority of the state vests with the Premier and the President is at the apex, representing the unity of the Republic. From 1947 to 1973, the country had a unicameral system of legislature.

Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen. Obedience to the Constitution and law is the inviolable obligation of every citizen wherever he or she may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan. To attain strength and stability in the country writ of the State will have to be established which can only be achieved by following the constitution. The perpetrators and those who challenge the Constitution of the country should be brought to justice. The ruling elite, including politicians, feudal lords, peers, businessmen, and the civil – judicial – military bureaucracy, do not want to establish the rule of law and the Constitution in the country as it would decrease their power and rule. The rule of the Constitution is actually supremacy of law. Under the rule of law and Constitution, decisions should be made by the application of known principles or the Constitution without the intervention of discretion in the application.

The Constitution of Pakistan is the Constitution of the people of Pakistan and they are best suited to speak for it. This document is their property and they are best suited to protect it. It is our hope and belief that under the inspiring guidance of Almighty, the people of Pakistan will speak for their Constitution and will protect it for all times to come. For the rule of constitution to function properly, there must be transparency in the law, equality under the law, an independent judiciary and access to legal remedy. It is a simple truism that a stable, prosperous, democratic and egalitarian state does not exist and survive without implementing and following the rule of law and the Constitution. The law is reason without passion and is thus preferable to any individual. Being a philosophical and legal concept, writers, philosophers and jurists, belonging to different ages, civilizations and countries, have described the concept of the rule of law and the Constitution in a variety of ways. Only by strictly following the Constitution in it’s true letter and spirit our nation can prosper, only the Constitution can integrate our homeland and only the rule of the Constitution can guarantee us graceful existence. Is it the true spirit of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Constitution?

—The writer is editor, book ambassador political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.

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