This volume provides a contextual account of Pakistan's constitutional laws and history. It aims to describe the formal structure of government in reference to origins that are traced to the administrative centralisation and legal innovations of colonial rule. It also situates the tide of Muslim nationalism that gave rise to the nation of Pakistan within a terrain of nascent constitutionalism and its associated promises of representation.
The post-colonial history of the Pakistani state is charted by reference to succeeding constitutions and the distribution of powers between the major branches of government that they augured. Where conventional histories often suggest that constitutionalism in Pakistan is to be solely understood by reference to a cycle of abidance and rupture, and in the oscillation between military and civilian rule, this volume also accounts for the many points of continuity between regime types. The contours of a broader constitutionalism come to light in the ways in which state power is wielded at different periods and in the range of contests – economic, political and cultural – through which some of this power is sought to be dispersed. Chapters on Rights, Federalism and Islam detail the contextual features of some of these contests and the normative, legal parameters through which they are provisionally settled.