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Objectives Resolution: The Argument

There are several prevalent arguments which support the contention that the Objectives Resolution is supra-constitutional.

First, the founding fathers of Pakistan, including Liaquat Ali Khan, and the First Constituent Assembly, considered the Objectives Resolution to be the “foundation” for the creation of the State. The relevant debate before the Constituent Assembly indicates this, as does the text of the document itself. Further, the Objectives Resolution has been consistently seen as a crucial element of the ideology of the State, as evidenced by its inclusion as preamble in each of Pakistan’s constitutions. Indeed, even the Supreme Court in Zia-ur-Rehman, which disallowed the contention that the Objectives Resolution as preamble was supra-constitutional, nevertheless admitted that the Resolution constituted the Grund norm of the State.


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Second, the inclusion of the Objectives Resolution through the vehicle of Article 2-A of the Constitution changed the constitutional status of the Resolution. The Supreme Court’s unwillingness to apply the Objectives Resolution to an interpretation of the constitution in Zia-ur-Rehman did not stem from a deficiency in the authority of the Resolution but rather from the fact that it was not part of the normal constitution. The 1985 Constitution remedied this deficiency.

Third, it was the intention of the framers of the 1985 Constitution that Article 2-A would “normalize” the constitutional status of the Objectives Resolution. This is evidenced by the meetings that were held between President Zia and those responsible for drafting the 1985 Constitution; it is also evidenced by President Zia’s “consistent devotion” to advancing the cause of Islam, as per his Islamization program.

Indeed, the changes wrought by the revision of the 1985 Constitution not only allow the courts to exercise jurisdiction through the mechanism of the Objectives Resolution (Article 2-A) but enjoin them to exercise it. From this perspective the restrictions upon the jurisdiction of the FSC as found in Article 203-B apply only to that court. In all other matters, not reserved for the FSC, Pakistan’s superior judiciary (the High Courts and the Supreme Court) have no limitations, including the Constitution itself.

This argument and its counter-argument are illustrated by the small but growing body of case law that has emerged concerning the issue.

 

Source: Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan, Charles Kennedy. Republished with permission.