Islam and the Constitution

Coat of Arms of Pakistan

Islam figures prominently in the constitution of Pakistan. The Objectives Resolution of 1949, on which all future constitutions of the country were to be modeled, clearly stated that: “Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah” (Article 4). The three constitutions promulgated subsequently (in 1956, 1962 and 1973) revealed a general consensus on Pakistan being an Islamic republic and contained key principles that emphasized the role of Islam.

Pakistan was officially proclaimed an “Islamic Republic” with the adoption of its first constitution in 1956. Under the present constitution, dating back to 1973, Islam was made the state religion. Since then, the constitution has been suspended and held in abeyance twice, in 1977 and in 1999, on account of the imposition of military rule, but its “Islamic” provisions have survived.  In fact, the objectives resolution was made a substantive part of the constitution in 1985 under the military rule of General Zia ul Haq (1977-1985), thus reinforcing the Islamic character of the state.

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