The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, lays a strong foundation for the protection of fundamental rights and outlines principles of policy to guide the governance of the country. This document ensures that the rights of citizens are safeguarded and that the state operates in a manner consistent with the principles of justice, equality, and fairness. This article will explore these fundamental rights and principles of policy in detail, as outlined in the Pakistani Constitution.

Chapter 1: Fundamental Rights

1. Laws Inconsistent with or in Derogation of Fundamental Rights to be Void

Article 8 of the Constitution states that any law, or any custom or usage having the force of law, which is inconsistent with the fundamental rights, shall be void to the extent of such inconsistency. This provision ensures that fundamental rights cannot be overridden by any other law .

2. Security of Person

Article 9 guarantees that no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law. This provision is fundamental in ensuring personal security and protecting individuals from arbitrary actions by the state .

3. Safeguards as to Arrest and Detention

Article 10 outlines the safeguards regarding arrest and detention, stating that no person shall be detained without being informed of the grounds for such arrest and shall have the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of their choice. This article also requires that a person arrested must be produced before a magistrate within twenty-four hours .

4. Right to Fair Trial

Article 10A, introduced by the Eighteenth Amendment, guarantees the right to a fair trial and due process for the determination of civil rights and obligations or in any criminal charge against an individual .

5. Prohibition of Slavery and Forced Labor

Article 11 prohibits slavery and forced labor in all forms. It also bans the employment of children below the age of fourteen in factories, mines, or any other hazardous employment .

6. Protection against Retrospective Punishment

Article 12 ensures that no law shall authorize punishment for an act that was not punishable at the time it was committed. This article protects individuals from being subjected to retrospective legal action .

7. Protection against Double Jeopardy and Self-Incrimination

Article 13 safeguards individuals from being prosecuted or punished for the same offense more than once and protects them from self-incrimination .

8. Inviolability of Dignity of Man

Article 14 declares the dignity of man and the privacy of home as inviolable. This provision underscores the importance of personal dignity and privacy .

9. Freedom of Movement

Article 15 grants every citizen the right to move freely throughout Pakistan and to reside and settle in any part thereof. This right is essential for personal liberty and freedom .

10. Freedom of Assembly

Article 16 guarantees the right to assemble peacefully without arms, ensuring that citizens can gather for lawful purposes .

11. Freedom of Association

Article 17 ensures the right to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of sovereignty, integrity, or public order .

12. Freedom of Trade, Business, or Profession

Article 18 guarantees the right of every citizen to enter any lawful profession or occupation and to conduct any lawful trade or business .

13. Freedom of Speech

Article 19 ensures the right to freedom of speech and expression, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam, integrity, security, or defense of Pakistan, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to an offense .

14. Right to Information

Article 19A, introduced by the Eighteenth Amendment, grants every citizen the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance, subject to regulation and reasonable restrictions imposed by law .

15. Freedom to Profess Religion

Article 20 ensures that every citizen has the right to profess, practice, and propagate their religion and to manage religious institutions. This article underscores the importance of religious freedom in a diverse society .

16. Safeguards Against Taxation for Religious Purposes

Article 21 ensures that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated for the purposes of a religion other than their own .

17. Safeguards as to Educational Institutions

Article 22 protects the rights of individuals to receive religious instruction according to their faith in educational institutions and prevents discrimination in admissions on the grounds of race, religion, caste, or place of birth .

18. Rights to Property

Articles 23 and 24 guarantee the right to acquire, hold, and dispose of property in any part of Pakistan, subject to the Constitution and any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the public interest. Article 24 also provides protection against compulsory acquisition of property without adequate compensation .

19. Equality of Citizens

Article 25 ensures equality before the law and equal protection of the law to all citizens. It prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex and mandates the state to make special provisions for the protection of women and children .

20. Right to Education

Article 25A, introduced by the Eighteenth Amendment, mandates the state to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of five and sixteen years .

21. Non-Discrimination in Access to Public Places

Article 26 guarantees that all citizens shall have equal access to places of public entertainment or resort, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law .

22. Safeguard Against Discrimination in Services

Article 27 prohibits discrimination in appointments to service under the state on grounds of race, religion, caste, sex, residence, or place of birth. It also allows for the redressal of under-representation of any class or area through appropriate measures determined by law .

23. Preservation of Language, Script, and Culture

Article 28 ensures the right of any section of citizens having a distinct language, script, or culture to preserve and promote the same, and to establish institutions for this purpose, subject to law .

Chapter 2: Principles of Policy

1. Principles of Policy

Article 29 declares that the principles set out in this chapter are known as the Principles of Policy, which guide the state in making laws and policies. It is the responsibility of each organ and authority of the state to act in accordance with these principles, as far as they relate to the functions of the organ or authority. The observance of any particular principle of policy is subject to the availability of resources .

2. Responsibility with Respect to Principles of Policy

Article 30 assigns the responsibility of ensuring that actions of the state are in accordance with the principles of policy to the respective organ or authority of the state. It also clarifies that the validity of an action or law cannot be questioned on the grounds that it is not in accordance with the principles of policy, and no legal action shall lie against the state or any of its organs on such grounds .

3. Islamic Way of Life

Article 31 mandates the state to take steps to enable Muslims of Pakistan to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam. It also requires the state to make the teaching of the Holy Quran and Islamiat compulsory, encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic, and ensure the proper organization of zakat, ushr, auqaf, and mosques .

4. Promotion of Local Government Institutions

Article 32 encourages the state to promote local government institutions composed of elected representatives of the areas concerned. These institutions are to give special representation to peasants, workers, and women .

5. Elimination of Prejudices

Article 33 requires the state to discourage parochial, racial, tribal, sectarian, and provincial prejudices among the citizens of Pakistan .

6. Full Participation of Women in National Life

Article 34 mandates the state to ensure the full participation of women in all spheres of national life .

7. Protection of Family

Article 35 requires the state to protect the marriage, family, mother, and child, recognizing the family as the basic unit of society .

8. Protection of Minorities

Article 36 ensures the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the federal and provincial services .

9. Promotion of Social Justice and Eradication of Social Evils

Article 37 requires the state to promote social justice and eradicate social evils. It mandates the state to provide for the well-being of the people, ensure equitable adjustment of rights between employers and employees, provide for inexpensive and expeditious justice, and to take steps to prevent prostitution, gambling, and consumption of alcoholic liquor .

10. Promotion of Social and Economic Well-being

Article 38 mandates the state to secure the well-being of the people, irrespective of sex, caste, creed, or race. This includes providing basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, education, and medical relief, reducing disparity in income and earnings, and eliminating riba (usury) as early as possible .

11. Participation in Armed Forces

Article 39 encourages the state to enable people from all parts of Pakistan to participate in the Armed Forces .

12. Strengthening Bonds with the Muslim World

Article 40 requires the state to strengthen bonds with the Muslim world and promote international peace and security, foster goodwill and friendly relations among all nations, and encourage the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means .

Conclusion

The Constitution of Pakistan provides a comprehensive framework for the protection of fundamental rights and outlines principles of policy that guide the governance of the country. These provisions ensure that the rights of individuals are safeguarded, and that the state operates in a manner consistent with the principles of justice, equality, and fairness. By adhering to these fundamental rights and principles of policy, Pakistan aims to create a just and equitable society where every citizen can enjoy their rights and contribute to the nation’s development.

By The Josh and Mak Team

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