The Parliament of Pakistan: A History of Institution-Building and (Un)Democratic Practices, 1971-1977

Mahboob Hussain

The book highlights the working of the parliament of Pakistan in the 1970s. The author examines the role of the parliament, how it functioned, and evolved over the 1971-7 period. He focuses on concepts such as autonomy, complexity, differentiation, durability, and sovereignty, providing insight on the functioning of political regimes and parliaments in postcolonial states. The book lists the strengths and weaknesses of the parliament and initiates a compelling discussion to establish a correlation between its functioning and the emergence of undemocratic practices in Pakistan.


Foreword by Matthew McCartney
Introduction by Mian Raza Rabbani
List of Abbreviations
1. Institution Building in Pakistan: A Conceptual Framework
- Institution of Parliament-Historical Context
- Political Institutionalisation under Colonial Rule
2. The Parliament in Pakistan: A Brief Survey
- The Composition of the First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
- Contribution and Achievements of the First Legislature of Pakistan
- Formation of the Second Constituent Assembly (1955-8)
- Ayub Khan Era: The Parliament under the Presidential System
- The Second Assembly under Ayub Khan
3. Formation, Complexity, and Differentiation of Parliament
- The National Assembly
Professional Background of the Parliamentarians
Educational Qualification
Age Group
- The Senate Formation
- Working Relationship Between the two Houses
- Parliamentary Committees
- Opposition and the Process of Legislation
- Use of Rules by the Speaker of the Assembly or Chairman of the Senate
4. Sovereignty of Parliament as a Constituent Assembly
- The Tripartite Accord for the Constitution
- The Interim Constitution 1972
- Meeting of Parliamentary Party Leaders
- Report of the Constitution Committee
- Dismissal of the NAP-JUI Government in Balochistan
- The Framing of the Constitution
- Formation of United Democratic Front (UDF)
5. Parliament's Durability: Efficiency on National Issues (1973-7)
- Proclamation of Emergency
- The Qadiani Issue
- Foreign Policy and the Parliament
Foreign Policy Debates
The Budget Session Debate
Issue-oriented Debate
- The Question Hour
- Recognition of Bangladesh
- Exit from the Commonwealth
- The Simla Agreement
- Socio-economic Reforms and the Parliament
- The Balochistan Government
6. Establishing Autonomy: Relation of the Parliament with Other Institutions
- The Executive's Influence over the Parliament
- The Cabinet and the Parliament
- Army vs the Parliament
How the Assembly Tackled the Army?
- Creation of the Federal Security Force
- Civil Bureaucratic Obstacles in the Way of the Parliament
- Reduction in the Powers of the Judiciary
- Political Parties and the Parliament
- The Ruling Party-Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)
- The Media and the Parliament
- Relations of Parliamentarians with One Another
- Training in Parliamentary Affairs
7. Conclusion
I. Party Position in Legislatures
II. List of Candidates returned to the National Assembly of Pakistan from National Constituencies, 1970
III. Facsimile: Memorandum of Settlement PPP, ANP, JUI
IV. Facsimile: Signatures of the Constitution Committee, December 1972
V. List of Bills Passed in the Senate of Pakistan, 1973-1977
VI. List of Acts Passed by the National Assembly, 1972-1977
VII. A Chronology of Events related to Parliament, 1972-1977


Mahboob Hussain is an Associate Professor, Department of History & Pakistan Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore. He completed his PhD from Pakistan Study Centre, Punjab University, Lahore and Postdoctoral from University of Oxford, UK.