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As Pakistan emerged from the shadows of military rule, dismembered and disenchanted, democratic governance and progressive politics promised a better future for the masses. The adoption of Pakistan’s first constitution by an elected assembly in 1973 added to the optimism for constitutionalism and rule of law. This optimism was quickly dispelled as the elected government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (1970–76) proved itself to be as authoritarian as its predecessors and very much within the mould of postcolonial governance. The courts, which attempted to rely on the new constitution to protect fundamental liberties and provide a voice to the opposition, were soon undermined by constitutional amendments designed to curtail judicial review. Chapter 4 describes this failure of formal democratic constitutionalism in the face of an elective dictatorship. It also charts how, nonetheless, the superior courts insisted on minimal procedural safeguards against the enforcement of state security and public order laws and pushed the envelope of the judicial review of executive action.
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