The Importance Of Celebrating Constitution Day

The Importance Of Celebrating Constitution Day

Pakistan has been celebrating its Constitution Day since 2015. It was initiated by the former Chair of Senate, Mr. Raza Rabbani, who marked the 10th of April as our Constitution Day. It is a dilemma of our constitutional history that after a span of 42 years we decided to celebrate this day, as the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was passed by Parliament on 10th April and ratified on 14th August, 1973.

Americans usually observe their Constitution Day on September 17th when the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia in 1787. The law establishing a public holiday regarding this day was passed in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd[1] to the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2004. The Indian Constitution Day, also known as Samvidhan Divas, is celebrated on the 26th of November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India. The Indian government declared 26 November as the Indian Constitution Day in 2015, as 2015 marked the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar, who chaired the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution and played a vital role in drafting the Indian Constitution.

For the past couple of weeks, I have also been teaching US Constitutional history to my students and the significance of the US Constitutional Convention of 1787 held at Philadelphia. It is pertinent to mention here that the importance of Pakistan’s Constitutional Convention of 1972, which was attended by leaders and constitutional experts from Islamic political parties, conservative parties, socialist parties and communist parties, was somehow not made part of my own legal education the way US Constitutional Convention was. I feel that it is need of the hour to teach our young law graduates about our own constitutional history in detail.

As we have been celebrating our Constitution Day since 2015, it is the responsibility of our government to spread awareness about it. In this regard, the Bar Associations should also play an active role in celebrating this day across the country. Last year’s theme of commemoration of Pakistan’s Constitution Day was the “Enhancement of the role and powers of Senate of Pakistan; to protect the rights of the federating units.”

Earlier, I had decided to contact the officials of Senate to enquire about this year’s theme and they told me it was confidential. Well, what is the purpose of celebrating a day when our public does not have any kind of access to relevant official statements of the state?

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also issued the following statement to celebrate Constitution Day this year:

“The supremacy of the Constitution should be our ultimate aim because it will guarantee democracy, fundamental rights and security for each and every citizen of the state.”

I humbly request our political leadership and legal fraternity to make arrangements to celebrate Constitution Day in our law schools and in our Bar Associations across the country every year. These celebrations will bring light to appreciating the efforts of the members of our Constitutional Convention of 1972, which will be an excellent way to commemorate the constitutional history of our beloved country.

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References: 

[1] ‘Constitution Day and Citizenship Day’ (LOC.GOV 2017) <https://www.loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/constitution-day.php> accessed on 10 April  2018

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.



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