The First Islamic Republic
The Basic Principles Committee submitted two interim reports; one in September, 1950 and the other in December 1952. Neither of them could be adopted. The first one was withdrawn in the wake of a storm of protests in East Pakistan  while the second one was amended during the debates in the Constituent Assembly. However, the second report proved more productive and was adopted on 6th Oct. 1954.
The second report was widely criticized by the Ulema. A convention of Ulema was convened in Karachi in January 1953 to discuss the report. The convention, attended by 33 Ulema of different schools of thought, suggested more than two dozen amendments to accept the report. Earlier in January 1951, almost the same Ulema had agreed unanimously on 22 points on the fundamental principles of an Islamic state.
The main features of the Committee's second report regarding the place of Islam in the future constitution were: that the Objectives Resolution 1949 should form the Preamble of the future constitution; that the Directives Principles of state should be the preservation of democracy within the limits prescribed by the Quran and the Sunnah; that the state should take steps to bring the existing laws in conformity with the Islamic principles_XE "Islamic principles"_; that no legislation be made which was repugnant to the Quran and the Sunnah: that the Islamic moral standards be promoted and maintained.
In response to considerable pressure, the Report of the Basic Principles Committee contained a proposal that no law passed by any legislature in Pakistan should be valid if it were repugnant to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. To prevent passage of legislation repugnant to the Quran and the Sunnah, the Committee recommended the appointment (by the head of state) of a board consisting of not more than five persons well versed in Islamic law. This Board of Ulema should act in an advisory capacity and determine whether the laws that the Assembly passed were in conformity with or repugnant to Islam. The Committee also recommended that the Head of State should be a Muslim; and that separate electorates should be maintained for Muslims and non-Muslims.
When the Committee's report was considered by the Constituent Assembly, the Islamic character of the recommendations was severely criticized. There was not, however, much discussion on such matters as making the Objectives Resolution 1949, as part of the Preamble, or including the Directive Principles of State policy in the future constitution. It was argued that these provisions were not legally enforceable and were merely 'pious hopes.' But recommendations - that the Head of the state should be a Muslim, that separate electorates should be maintained, and that a Board of Ulema should be appointed to supervise the legislative activity of the Assembly were opposed during the constitutent assembly debates.
During the debate that the Head of state should be a Muslim, Sardar Shawkat Hayat Khan pointed out that the provision was against the fundamental rights. He remarked: " I imagine that the population of this country will be 85 percent Muslim. If a Muslim cannot be returned as Head of the State with 85 percent Muslims population and a Hindu is returned with a population of only 15 percent that Hindus must be saint......" 
The recommendation of the Basic Principles Committee that a board of five Ulema be appointed to determine whether the laws passed by the Assembly were in conformity with or repugnant to Islam, also came under sharp criticism. It was, therefore, argued that since the proposal to form a board of Ulema had received support only from a section of the people, it should be dropped and the Supreme Court of Pakistan should be given the necessary jurisdiction to judge whether the laws passed by the Assembly were in conformity with or repugnant to the Quran and the Sunnah. This was agreed to by the first Constituent Assembly but later dropped by the second.
During the discussion in the first Constituent Assembly the report of the Basic Principles Committee was substantially amended regarding the 'repugnancy clause.' Any law of a Pakistan legislature which is in conflict with the Quran and the Sunnah was again declared to be invalid. But the later provision was that Supreme court alone should have jurisdiction in such a case. Any objection on the ground of repugnancy to Islam was to be filed within three months of the giving of assents to a bill. Furthermore, it was provided that, for a period of at least twenty-five years, the repugnancy sections should not apply to 'fiscal and monetary measures, laws relating to banking, insurance, provident funds, and credit system.'
The East Pakistan Muslim League passed a resolution regretting that the repugnancy clause was not to be enforceable in the courts. This criticism was more than countered by the attitude of the Awami League. Mr. Hussein Shaheed Suharwardy asserted that his party wanted true Islam in the government and policies of Pakistan, but that the existing state of affairs was so far from Islam that the title should not be included in the name of the state. "I say that you are deluding the people here by calling this an Islamic state." He argued that it was quite unnecessary to provide in the constitution that the President was required to be a Muslim since 86 per cent of the electorate would be composed of Muslim voters. 
In 1953, Pakistan was declared an Islamic Republic, in spite of the opposition of a few Muslims and many of the non-Muslim members of the Constituent Assembly. The Report of the Basic Principles Committee was eventually adopted by the assembly on September 21, 1954 with some amendments. The proposal for a Board of Ulema had been dropped; the question of separate or joint electorates was left to be determined by the Central and Provincial Assemblies formed under the constitution. They adopted the principle of joint electorates.
After much debate, the Constituent Assembly was able to prepare a final draft of the constitution in 1954 which visualized an Islamic Republic of Pakistan with a parliamentary system and a federation of five units, each with a bicameral legislature. It seems that the constitutional draft could have been adopted in the Constituent Assembly but it was not approved by the ruling elites, that is to say, members of the civil and military bureaucracy and feudalelements of West Pakistan. When the Assembly passed a bill in September 1954 which made the Governor General subservient to the advice of Prime Minister, Governor General Ghulam Mohammad, a senior member of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, backed by Chaudhry Mohammad Ali, dissolved the Constituent Assembly and dismissed Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin, a Bengali. Perhaps this was the first step towards ultimate bureaucratization and consequent militarization of Pakistan's political system.
The second Constituent Assembly was inaugurated in July 1955 and on January 8, 1956 it presented a draft constitution which was finally adopted on February 29, with certain changes. After nine years of effort, Pakistan was successful in framing the constitution which was implemented on March 23, 1956. Most of the West Pakistani politicians and bureaucrats dreaded the exercise of the will of the people according to the majority principle since that could put the Bengalis (representing 56 per cent of the population) in a commanding position. It took them nine years to devise the so-called parity formula according to which East and West Pakistan would have equal representation in the federal parliament and government.
The constitution provided for a federal structure composed of two units, East and West Pakistan. The parliamentary form of government was adopted and unicameral legislature was based on the principle of 'parity' of representation between the two wings of the country. The merger of the provinces of West Pakistan in 1955 was initiated (against the wishes of Baluchistan, Sindh and North Western Frontier Province in order to transform a federation originally based on five units into a bipolar federal system. This would ultimately imply perpetual confrontation between East and West Pakistan. No attempt was made to abolish feudalism in the country while colonial-era system of civil administration was maintained.
Islamic provisions in the 1956 constitution were contained in the Directives Principles of State Policy, which were not enforceable in the courts. The directive principles reaffirmed the statement in the preamble that "steps shall be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan individually and collectively to order their lives in accordance with the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Further the state was to endeavor (a) to provide facilities to the Muslims to enable them to understand the meaning of life according to the Holy Quran and the Sunnah; (b) to promote unity and observance of Islamic moral standards; (c) to secure the proper organization of Zakat and Awkaf.
Article 24 provided that the state should endeavor to strengthen the bonds of unity among Muslim countries. The same article enjoined Pakistan to foster friendly relations among all nations.
There was no provision to make Islam the state religion in Pakistan. Article 21 provided that no person should be compelled to pay any special tax, the proceeds of which were to be spent on the propagation of any religion other than his own. The Head of State was to be a Muslim not younger than 40 years of age. The constitution of 1956 represented a decision to transfer to the people and not the Ulema or other religiously privileged class, the responsibility, if not for making the authoritative interpretation of Islam, at least for choosing which interpretation shall become authoritative.
Insofar as Islam was given any practical legal significance in the 1956 Constitution, it was in two ways. First, through Article 197 the president was obliged to set up an organization for Islamic research and instruction in advanced studies to assist in the reconstruction of Muslim society on a truly Islamic basis; and under article 198 the President expected to appoint a Commission of Experts to make recommendations ' as to the measures for bringing existing laws in conformity with the injunctions of Islam. ' The Commission was to submit its report to the President within five years of its appointment. This report was to be placed before the National Assembly, and the Assembly after considering the report was to enact laws in respect thereof. 
The constitution had something to offer to both sides; it gave grounds to the orthodox traditionalist that his cause might be advanced, while there was nothing in the Islamic clauses to cause a liberal democrat to feel that Pakistan was incapable of becoming the kind of a state he wishes to see. The constitution did little to settle the fundamental issue of the desirable role of Islam in a modern state. Nor did its adoption serve to bridge what one writer had called the ' wide gulf between the Ulema of the orthodox schools and the intelligentsia." 
The 1956 constitution was accepted without widespread opposition from religious groups concerning its Islamic provisions. Jamat-e-Islami described it as an "Islamic constitution." A statement issued by the Majles-e-Shura of the Jamat on 18th March 1956 said: "The preamble of the constitution, its Directive Principles and Article 198 of the constitution have finally and unequivocally settled the 8-year old struggle between the Islamic and anti-Islamic trends in favor of the former. And the fact that the future system of life in this country has to be shaped on the basis of Islam and that the Quran and the Sunnah shall ever reign supreme here has been so firmly embodied in the constitution of the country that no worldly power shall, Insha Allah, be able to obliterate it." 
The constitution of 1956, that took seven years to adopt, was abrogated only after two and half years of its existence by the civilian-military coalition of power elites that brought about a military coup d'état on October 7, 1958. President Iskandar Mirza (a retired Major General who later joined the civil service) imposed martial law and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, General Mohammad Ayub Khan, later to be named a Field Marshal, as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. Three weeks later General Ayub dismissed President Iskandar Mirza and assumed the presidency. This act marked the transformation of the bureaucratic state system into military regime in which the civilian bureaucrats came to play a sub-servient rather than a dominant role.
The fate of democracy was not allowed to improve even after the enforcement of the 1956 democratic constitution. Political bickering and intrigues which began under the interim constitution after 1953, -- when Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin, who had enjoyed the confidence of the legislature, was arbitrarily dismissed by the Governor-General, Ghulam Mohammad, and when a sovereign constituent assembly was also dissolved by the same Governor-General in an undemocratic manner in 1954, -- continued to dominate the Pakistan political scene even after the adoption of the 1956 constitution. On the political intrigues of President Iskandar Mirza, General Ayub wrote: "The President had thoroughly exploited the weaknesses in the constitution and had got everyone connected with the political life of the country utterly exposed and discredited." 
It was expected that general elections will take place in accordance with the provisions of the new constitution but like the interim constitution (1947-56) no elections were held. There were seven prime ministers in Pakistan during the era of parliamentary democracy from 1947 to 1958. With the exception of the first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, none of the remaining six prime ministers were elected as a result of any election or even as a result of the vote of confidence in the legislature. They were the products of "palace intrigues" by the two governor-generals -- Ghulam Mohammad and Iskandar Mirza (who later became the first president of Pakistan). There was a cabinet, there was a parliament, but the real powers were exercised by the Governor-General with the help of a ruling elite, composed of the top civil and military officials. The constitutional forms and trapping of democracy had only provided a cloak for the ruling elite.
The political order in Pakistan had practically turned into an oligarchy under a democratic constitution. Pakistan's political system was rightly described as a 'modernizingoligarchy,' in a study on the politics of the developing areas.  The various government changes that took place in the country from 1953 to 1958 could be traced to the inordinate desire of this ruling oligarchy to perpetuate its power and position. It is no doubt true that this oligarchy was able to maintain its hold because of the lack of cohesion and integrity among the political parties and their leaders. But this is also true that the powerful oligarchy was determined to crush the democratic institutions in the country and it always encouraged splits and disintegration of the parties whenever any of them constituted a threat to its hold and dominance. It was therefore the role and policy of this particular group, which had actual control of the governmental machinery, that was more responsible than any other factor in the unsatisfactory working of the democratic institutions in the country.
A constitution commission appointed by Ayub Khan in 1960 enumerated the following reasons for the failure of democracy in Pakistan: (i) lack of proper elections, (ii) undue interference by the heads of the state with the ministers and political parties and by the central government with the functioning of the government of the provinces, (iii) lack of leadership resulting in the absence of well-organized and disciplined parties, lack of character of the politicians and their under interference in the administration. However, the commission failed to mention the real threat and challenges to democracy in Pakistan that came from an all-powerful and irresponsible executive which was aided and supported by a powerful civil and military bureaucracy.