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Monday, October 27, 2008

A G Noorani: The Great Betrayal

First, the published material in McGrath’s book – Jennings was recommended to Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in July 1947 by a member of the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten’s staff as an expert to assert in the drafting of the Constitution of Pakistan. It was felt, though, that his advice may not be available. Seven years later, in July 1954 he visited Karachi at the invitation from the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly. He had taken leave from his post as Vice-Chancellor.

By October 1954, the Draft Constitution was ready. McGrath records, “The approved clauses of the Basic Principles Committee Report were drafted into a formal constitutional document by the drafting committee, and on October 15 sent for printing to the Government Printing Office, which published the document under the title ‘The Draft Constitution of Pakistan, Confidential.’ This document was submitted to Jennings who made extensive, but minor changes on the draft. December 25 - the anniversary of Jinnah’s birthday - had been announced earlier by Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Bogra as the date the new constitution was to go into effect. After seven years of bargaining and drafting, the Assembly had completed its mission of giving the country a constitution. Two weeks after the assembly approved the constitution, Chief Justice Munir, addressing the Lahore Bar Association, spoke of the new constitution in terms which reflected no negative opinion on his part.”

The Islamic Constitution of the Republic of Pakistan “the final version of the constitution, containing Jennings’ revisions, was published by the Government Printing Office” by the Manager Government Printing Office, McGrath records. He adds, “It contained the printed notation preceding the text of the Constitution: To be introduced in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.”


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