Salient Features Of 1956 Constitution Of Pakistan And Causes Of Its Failure


On 14th day of August 1947 the subcontinent was divide into two counties and Pakistan came into the map of this world such independence was possible under Indian Independence Act –1947, therefore Pakistan immediately adopted the Government of India Act 1935 as the working constitution with necessary changes.


The Constitution of 1956 was the first constitution which passed and adopted by Pakistan and its came into force in the month of March 1956, there were 234 articles 13 parts and 6 schedules and below mention are the salient features;

Written Constitution

This is a written and lengthy document.

Flexible Constitution

The constitution could be amended through a process requiring the amendment to be passed by at least a two-thirds majority of the parliament.However the president had the right to veto the draft,which then could be overridden by simple parliamentary majority.

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

The name of the country was adopted as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Objectives Resolution

The objective resolution was included as a preamble of the constitution.

Federal System

The constitution provides for a federal system in the country. Powers was divided between the centre and the provinces. The subjects were divided into three lists; The Federal List, The Provincial List, and the Concurrent List.

Unicameral Legislature

The legislature would consist of a single house. Both the wings of the country were given representation in the National Assembly. The National Assembly consisted of 300 members. 150 members were drawn from each wing.

Parliamentary System

A parliamentary system was adopted, according to it the president was the head of state and the Prime Minister the head of government.

The President

Required to be a Muslim of at least forty years of age. The tenure of his office was five years. In case of internal or external danger he could declare a state of emergency in the country. He was authorized to appoint the Governors, the Judges of the Supreme Court, Auditor General and the Advocate General.

The Prime Minister

He was to be the leader of the Parliamentary group and was thus indirectly elected by the people. He could choose his cabinet from the members of the National Assembly; the cabinet was answerable to the Assembly.

Provincial Autonomy

Curtailed in the constitution to a great extent.

Islamic Law

No law would be passed against the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah.

Free Judiciary

An independent judiciary in the country. A Supreme Court interpreted the constitution, advised the state whenever required, and decided the issues whenever required.

Fundamental Rights

Included freedom of movement, freedom of speech and expression, freedom to choose profession and freedom to profess religion. Right to life, liberty, and property.


Urdu & Bengali

Above mention description are the salient features on the constitution of Pakistan 1956 it were constitute till the 7th day of October 1958 when The President Iskander Mirza abrogated the constitution and imposed martial law Therefore he appointed General Muhammad Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator.


On the 7th day of October 1958 The President Iskander Mirza abrogated the constitution and imposed martial law However, three weeks later General Ayub (CMLA) deposed Iskandar Mirza on 27 October 1958 and assumed the presidency, which practically formalized the militarization of the political system in Pakistan.

There are few causes of the failure of the Constitution of 1956 in the result it was abrogated in 1958:-

  • The General election were not help till the 1956 and the parliamentary system did not strike roots in the country and the constitution 1956 was the multi-party system it’s also was one of the main causes of its failure.
  • That time the politicians were insincere and preferred their personal interests over national interests they fight for the power hence the eleven-year period from 1947 to 1958 was a period of political instability which witnessed the rise and fall of nine prime ministers. These circumstances were not conducive to democracy which was a hallmark of the constitution of 1956.
  • Every political party tries to gain power and no one was interested for elections. So, these circumstances, elections were delayed and such delay caused failure of parliamentary system under first constitution of Pakistan 1956.
  • The constitution was modeled on the One Unit of West Pakistan and opponents of the One Unit created hatred against the Constitution.
  • Irresponsible and unpatriotic acts of Ghulam Mohammad destabilized the democratic process. He did not hesitate to dissolve the First Constituent Assembly. Similarly, the Federal Court was pressurized to give verdict against the Sindh High Court which was a mockery of democracy. Later on, Iskander mirza promoted the palace intrigues which led to frequent rise and fall of ministries.


In the end it’s clearly determined that constitutional history of Pakistan shown that there was political conflict between head of the state and head of the government and such political conflict led the country to political anarchy and the constitution of Pakistan have either abrogated or suspended in such situation further we discussed about constitution of Pakistan 1956 there were some positive characteristics but the conflict of power caused not only abrogation of the constitution but also interference of the military cops which caused the failure of democracy in Pakistan.

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