Basic Principle Committee (1949 to 1952)
After passing the objective resolution, the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan formed the Basic Principle Committee on March 12, 1949. This committee was headed by Liaqat Ali Khan and Maulvi Tameez-ud-din and included 24 members in it. The Basic Principles Committee’s mission was to identify the fundamental principles that will support Pakistan’s future constitution.
It included three sub-committees:
- Federal and provincial Committee,
- Franchise Committee
- Judicial Committee
These committees were responsible for making a recommendation in the field of their expertise. “The Basic Principle Committee’s first interim report was submitted on September 28, 1950.”
Attributes of 1st report
Essential characteristics of this report were:
- Objective Resolution should be included in the constitution and the guiding principle of state policy.
- There should be a single federation in Pakistan.
- There should be a Bicameral central legislature.
- The federation included the upper House (House of Unit) and lower house (House of People), with 400 members.
- During the election of the lower house, the people will come from franchises. The two houses’ tenure was five years, and the two had the same power.
- In joint meetings of the two houses, decisions concerning budgets or monetary bills were decided.
- The federal parliament had all the powers and rights to remove the Head of State.
- Every province should have a separate parliament; it would be elected for a five-year term based on adult franchise.
Splitting of Legislative Power into three lists
- The federal government’s list of 67 issues is to be addressed by the federal legislature.
- The provincial legislature would legislate the 35-item.
- The 37 items for which both the federal and provincial legislatures have legislative authority. Remaining Power was given to center.
Attributes of Basic Principle Committee
- The constitution was to be interpreted by the Supreme Court when a dispute arose.
- The Constitutional amendment procedure was very rigid; the Central and Provincial Legislatures had to obtain a majority approval.
- Additional powers like the abrogation of the constitution have been given to the Head of State.
- The Supreme Court was the highest in the legal system. It is made up of two to six judges, as well as the Chief Justice. Each province will have its high court.
- Urdu was to be the state language.
- The Board of Ulama would be appointed by the Head of State and provincial governors to review the legislative process and ensure that legislation complies with the Quran and Sunnah.
Criticism on the Report of basic principles committee
In the first basic principles committeereport, the majority of Pakistan’s population is believed to have been unsatisfactory. The public criticized it from various angles; it was argued that the constitutional structure was incomplete. Opposition parties from East Pakistan issued a Joint Declaration claiming that “the majority of East Pakistan in both the central parliamentary chambers should be reduced to a majority in addition to the provincial government’s powers.” On this occasion, the United Front demanded Bengali as the official language.
Religious groups criticized it as less Islamic. Therefore, Political unrest was created in the country. Liaquat Ali Khan intervened on this occasion and assured people that this report was not final. The interim report was published in November 1950 according to the proposed procedure. In the next stage, public submissions were invited from all over the country until January 31, 1951.
Second Interim Report of the Basic Principle Committee (1952)
The committee submitted its second report on July 8, 1952, and examined the Recommendations. On December 22, 1952, Khawaja Nazimuddin presented this report in the Assembly. This report was signed by seventeen committee members, including Mulvi Tameezuddin, Chattopadhyaya, Mulana Mohammed Akram Khan, Nurul Amin, Mumtaz Dultana, Rahan Schahnawaz, A. S. Pirzada, Abdur Rab Nishtar, and Abdul Qaiyum of Khan. Seventeen members of the Commission signed the report. It comprised 16 schedules, 225 sections, and two timetables.
Salient Features of 2nd Interim Report of basic principles committee
- As a preamble to the proposed constitution, the Objective Resolution was adopted as a principles guide of state. Every legislation will be according to Quran and the Sunnah.
- The Head of State should be Muslim and elected for 5 years by the two chambers of the federal parliament.
- All provinces, capitals, and federations have been specified in the Word Unit. For a term of 5 years, the head of these units had to be chosen.
- The House of Units was made up of 120 members by the Federal Parliament, composed of two houses. Following the principle of proportional participation, the East Bengal parliament was to elect 60 members, and the remaining members were to be elected by the same rule from West Pakistan. The People’s House had absolute authority, consisting of 400 members, 200 from West, and 200 East Pakistan members.
- The Head of State could promulgate ordinances when the Federal Parliament was not in session. On the advice of the Minister, the Head of State might dissolve the People’s Chamber.
- The Head of State appointed the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the Chief Justice recommendations also appointed six other judges.
- The federal public officers and anti-dismissal units also received guarantees, and the rank reduction was not allowed to showcase.
Criticism on the Report of basic principles committee
- The proposal ignored the fact that East Pakistan had a more significant part of the country’s population than West Pakistan.
- The bill made the bottom building a weak replica and reduced its usefulness. It did not also consider the fact that in a joint session, both chambers could not resolve the conflict.
- It was also criticized in the first report, but Punjab this time criticized the federal formula as defective. They demanded equal representation and equal power for different units in the lower house. The Punjab members of the Committee of Basic Principles and the Cabinet did not like the wording because they believed East Pakistan would easily dominate the unit of Western Pakistan.
- The Islamic character of the Constitution recommendation, especially concerning the demand for Ahmadis’ declaration as non-Muslims, was not satisfied by religious leaders. A request to remove Ahmadis from the key positions, including Zafar-ullah Khan (the foreign Minister), was presented in July 1952 during the All-Pakistan Muslim Party Convention held in Lahore. Nizamuddin supported the demand and did not want to include him in the Committee on Basic Principle report.