RAWALPINDI: The Legal Framework Order 1970 issued by the President here today [March 29], allocates East Pakistan 169 out of the 313 seats in the National Assembly. West Pakistan, divided into four provinces, will get 144 seats — Punjab 82, Sind 27, Baluchistan four, North-West Frontier Province 18 and the Centrally Administered Tribal Areas seven.

Of the 13 seats reserved for women, seven will go to East Pakistan, three to Punjab, one to Baluchistan, one to Sind and one to the NWFP and Centrally Administered Tribal Areas.

The order, which contains three schedules — fixing the number of seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies and laying down the Rules of Procedure for the National Assembly — also lays down the fundamental principles which have to be incorporated in the new Constitution and its Preamble.

Under these principles the Head of the State shall be a Muslim and Pakistan shall be a Federal Islamic Republic guaranteeing fundamental rights, independence of the Judiciary, maximum provincial autonomy with the Federal Government having adequate legislative, administrative and financial powers in relation to internal and external affairs and to preserve the independence and territorial integrity of the country. The minorities have also been guaranteed their rights to profess and practise their religions freely, and to enjoy all rights, privileges and protections as citizens of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2020