Pakistan's independence was won through a democratic and constitutional struggle. Although the country's record with parliamentary democracy has been mixed, Pakistan, after lapses, has returned to this form of government. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan adopted in 1985 provides for a federal parliamentary system with a president as head of state and a popularly elected prime minister as head of government.
A Democratic Government
The dismemberment of Pakistan discredited both the civil bureaucracy and the army, General Yahya Khan
was left no choice but to hand all power over to the Pakistan's People's Party
(PPP) who saw the formation of a representative led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto's electoral strength, however, was confined to the Punjab and Sind, and even there it had not been based on solid political party organization. This, together with the PPP's lack of following in the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, meant that Bhutto could not work the central apparatus without at least the implicit support of the civil bureaucracy and the military high command. The 1973 constitution made large concessions to the non-Punjabi provinces and provided the blueprint for a political system based on the semblance of a national consensus. But Bhutto
failed to implement the federal provisions of the constitution. He relied on the coercive arm of the state to snuff out political opposition and by neglecting to build the PPP as a truly popular national party. The gap between his popular rhetoric and the marginal successes of his somewhat haphazard economic reforms prevented Bhutto form consolidating a social base of support. Thus, despite a temporary loss of face in 1971 the civil bureaucracy and the army remained the most important pillars of the state structure, instead of the citizens of Pakistan who were still struggling to be recognized in the democratic process.  A Democratic Government
Branches of Government of Pakistan
The Legislative Branch
Pakistan’s legislative branch is a bicameral Parliament
Pakistan’s legislative branch is a bicameral Parliament, officially termed Majlis-i-Shoora. The first of Parliament’s two houses is the
- National Assembly (also known as the lower house) and has 342 members, including 60 seats that are reserved for women and 10 that are reserved for non-Muslims.
- The Senate (also known as the upper house) is made up of 104 members with seventeen seats reserved for women and four for non-Muslims. The seats for both houses are split between the four provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Federal Capital. The National Assembly is divided according to population, while the Senate offers a set number of seats for each group for each: 23 per province, eight for the FATA, and four for the Federal Capital.National Assembly members are elected by voters 18 years of age or older, and Senate members are elected by their respective provincial assemblies. The Legislative Branch
The Executive Branch
The executive branch in Pakistan is made up of the Prime Minister and the President. The Prime Minister is the head of government in Pakistan. The President, on the other hand, is a ceremonial head of state with fewer responsibilities.
- The Prime Minister is elected by members of the National Assembly, not long after those members are elected by the Pakistani people. The candidates are members of the Assembly and are nominated by fellow Assembly members. While there are many political parties in Pakistan, and many of them hold Assembly seats, they do not all have candidates in the Prime Minister elections. Even in elections where there are many nominees, generally only one or two, typically those from larger parties, hold a chance of winning the election. Once elected, the Prime Minster serves a five-year term. The Prime Minister can be re-elected, and there is no limit on how many times one can hold this position. In fact, Pakistan’s current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is serving his third inconsecutive term, though he didn’t complete his first two.Once elected, the Prime Minister is tasked with appointing a federal Council of Ministers. These positions can be filled by both National Assembly members and Senate members. There are ministers for a number of functions, including water and power, science and technology, petroleum and natural resources, railways and more. These ministers play an important role in Pakistan’s government, assisting the Prime Minister throughout his or her term.
- The President is elected a couple months after the Prime Minister by an electoral college consisting of members of the Senate, the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies. The President must be a Muslim and at least 45 years old. The President serves a five-year term and can be re-elected, though nobody can hold the position for more than two consecutive terms. Though President is mostly a ceremonial position, it does have its responsibilities, including appointing the chief justice and remaining judges of the Supreme Court. However, most of the president’s actions follow advice from the Prime Minister.
The Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch of Pakistan
Pakistan’s judicial system includes a Supreme Court, Provincial High Courts, Session Courts, Magistrate Courts
and other special courts and tribunals. Additionally, there is a Federal Shariat Court in Pakistan. The Magistrate Courts try all non-capital offenses, and their verdicts can be appealed to the Session Courts
or the High Courts, depending on the circumstances. Sessions Courts try all offenses, including capital cases, and hear appeals from the Magistrate Courts. Session Court verdicts can be appealed to the High Courts. Special courts and tribunals
exist for various criminal matters, including corruption, banking offenses and drugs. Those convicted can appeal to the high courts. The High Courts
hear various appeals from the lower courts, and the Supreme Court
, consisting of 16 justices, hears appeals on criminal matters from the High Courts. The Federal Shariat Court
, consisting of eight Muslim judges, decides if any law is against the laws of Islam.
The Executive Government
PM House of Pakistan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan is the Head of Government of Pakistan and designated as the Chief Executive of the Republic, who leads the executive branch of the government, oversees the economical growth, heads the Council of Common Interests as well as the Cabinet, and is vested with the command authority over the nuclear arsenals. He is also a leader of the nation who has control over all matters of internal and foreign policy.The Prime Minister is appointed by the members of the National Assembly through a vote. The Prime Minister is assisted by the Federal Cabinet, a Council of Ministers whose members are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Federal Cabinet comprises of the ministers, ministers of state, and advisers. Prime Minister of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan
President house of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the ceremonial Head of the State and a figurehead who is a civilian Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces
as per the Constitution of Pakistan and a leader of the nation.The President is kept informed by the Prime Minister on all the matters of internal and foreign policy as well as on all legislative proposals. Constitution of Pakistan vest the President the powers of granting the pardons, reprieves, and the control of the military; however, all appointments at higher commands of the military must be made by President on a "required and necessary" on consultation and approval from the Prime Minister. In addition, the constitution prohibits the President from exercising the authority of running the government.
Inside the Parliament house
The bicameral federal legislature consists of the Senate (upper house) and National Assembly (lower house). According to Article 50 of the Constitution, the National Assembly, the Senate and the President together make up a body known as the Majlis-i-Shoora (Council of Advisers).
The Senate hoouse of Government of Pakistan
The Senate is a permanent legislative body with equal representation from each of the four provinces, elected by the members of their respective provincial assemblies. There are representatives from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and from Islamabad Capital Territory. The Chairman of the Senate, under the constitution, is next in line to act as President should the office become vacant and until such time as a new president can be formally elected. Both the Senate and the National Assembly can initiate and pass legislation except for finance bills. Only the National Assembly can approve the federal budget and all finance bills. In the case of other bills, the President may prevent passage unless the legislature in joint sitting overrules the President by a majority of members of both houses present and voting. Unlike the National Assembly, the Senate cannot be dissolved by the President.
National Assembly of Pakistan
The National Assembly of Pakistan is the country's sovereign legislative body. It embodies the will of the people to let themselves be governed under the democratic, multi-party Federal Parliamentary System. The National Assembly makes laws for the Federation in respect of the powers enumerated in the Federal Legislative list. Through its debates, adjournment motion, question hour and Standing Committees, the National Assembly keeps as check over the Executive and ensures that the government functions within the parameters set out in the Constitution and does not violate the fundamental rights of citizens. Only the National Assembly, through its Public Accounts Committee, scrutinizes public spending and exercises control of expenditure incurred by the government.The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a Federal State comprising four provinces of Balochistan
, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Punjab and Sindh
; Islamabad is the Federal Capital with Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). These federating units offer a lot of diversity and variety in terms of languages, levels of social and economic development, population density and climatic conditions.The Members of the National Assembly are to be elected by direct and free vote in accordance with law. National Assembly of Pakistan
Types of Government
Tiers of Government of Pakistan
The Federal Cabinet comprises the ministers, ministers of state, and advisers. As of early 1994, there were thirty-three ministerial portfolios: commerce; communications; culture; defense; defense production; education; environment; finance and economic affairs; food and agriculture; foreign affairs; health; housing; information and broadcasting; interior; Kashmiri affairs and Northern Areas
; law and justice; local government; minority affairs; narcotics control; parliamentary affairs; petroleum and natural resources production; planning and development; railroads; religious affairs; science and technology; social welfare; special education; sports; state and frontier regions; tourism; water and power; women's development; and youth affairs.  Federal Government
Pakistan's four provinces enjoy considerable autonomy. Each province has a governor, a Council of Ministers headed by a chief minister appointed by the governor, and a provincial assembly. Members of the provincial assemblies are elected by universal adult suffrage. Provincial assemblies also have reserved seats for minorities. Although there is a well-defined division of responsibilities between federal and provincial governments, there are some functions on which both can make laws and establish departments for their execution. Most of the services in areas such as health, education, agriculture, and roads, for example, are provided by the provincial governments. Although the federal government can also legislate in these areas, it only makes national policy and handles international aspects of those services.
Power and Governance
Both the military and the civil bureaucracy were affected by the disruptions wrought by partition. Pakistan cycled through a number of politicians through their beginning political and economic crises. The politicians were corrupt, interested in maintaining their political power and securing the interests of the elite, so to have them as the representative authority did not provide much hope of a democratic state that provided socio-economic justice and fair administration to all Pakistani citizens. Ranging controversies over the issue of the national language, the role of Islam, provincial representation, and the distribution of power between the center and the provinces delayed constitution making and postponed general elections.
Military power of Government of Pakistan
Between 1958 and 1971 President Ayub Khan
, through autocratic rule was able to centralize the government without the inconvenience of unstable ministerial coalitions that had characterized its first decade after independence. Khan brought together an alliance of a predominantly Punjabi army and civil bureaucracy with the small but influential industrial class as well as segments of the landed elite, to replace the parliamentary government by a system of Basic Democracies. Basic Democracies code was founded on the premise of Khan's diagnosis that the politicians and their "free-for-all" type of fighting had had ill effect on the country. He therefore disqualified all old politicians under the Elective Bodies Disqualification Order, 1959 (EBDO).  Military - Military
By giving the civil bureaucracy (the chosen few) a part in electoral politics, Khan had hoped to bolster central authority, and largely American-directed, programs for Pakistan's economic development. But his policies exacerbated existing disparities between the provinces as well as within them. Which gave the grievances of the eastern wing a potency that threatened the very centralized control Khan was trying to establish. In West Pakistan, notable successes in increasing productivity were more than offset by growing inequalities in the agrarian sector and their lack of representation, an agonizing process of urbanization, and the concentration of wealth in a few industrial houses. In the aftermath of the 1965 war with India, mounting regional discontent in East Pakistan and urban unrest in West Pakistan helped undermine Ayub Khan's authority, forcing him to relinquish power in March 1969.
The Judiciary includes the Supreme Court, Provincial High Courts, District & Sessions Courts, Civil and Magistrate Courts exercising civil and criminal jurisdiction. Some Federal and Provincial Courts and tribunals such as Services Court, Income Tax & Excise Court, Banking Court and Boards of Revenue's Tribunals are established in all provinces as well.
Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court of Pakistan
is the highest appellate court of the country and court of last resort. It is the final arbiter of the law and the Constitution. Its orders/decisions are binding on all other courts in the country. All executive and judicial authorities are bound to act in aid of the Supreme Court. The Constitution contains elaborate provisions on the composition, jurisdiction, powers and functions of the Court. The qualifications for and mode of appointment of judges, the age of retirement, the grounds and procedure for removal and the terms and conditions of service of judges are elaborately prescribed. The Constitution provides for the independence of judiciary and its separation from the executive. The Constitution assigns the Supreme Court a unique responsibility of maintaining harmony and balance between the three pillars of the State, namely, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. As guardian of the Constitution, the Court is required to preserve, protect and defend this basic document. Supreme Court
Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan
Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan
The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan is a court which has the power to examine and determine whether the laws of the country comply with Shari'a law. It consists of 8 Muslim judges appointed by the President of Pakistan after consulting the Chief Justice of this Court. Of the 8 judges, 3 are required to be Ulema who are well versed in Islamic law. The judges hold office for a period of 3 years, which may eventually be extended by the President. If any part of the law is declared to be against Islamic law, the government is required to take necessary steps to amend such law appropriately. The court also exercises revisional jurisdiction over the criminal courts, deciding Hudood cases. The decisions of the court are binding on the High Courts as well as subordinate judiciary. The court appoints its own staff and frames its own rules of procedure.
Provincial and High Courts
Currently all four provinces; Punjab
, Sindh, Khyber PakhtunKhwah and Baluchistan have High Courts. After the approval of 18th Constitutional Amendment in April 2010, a new High Court is established at Federal Capital Islamabad
with the name of Islamabad High Court. Judges appointments are proposed by a Parliamentary Commission. In addition, there are special courts and tribunals to deal with specific kinds of cases, such as drug courts, commercial courts, labor courts, traffic courts, an insurance appellate tribunal, an income tax appellate tribunal, and special courts for bank offences. There are also special courts to try terrorists. Appeals from special courts go to high courts except for labor and traffic courts, which have their own forums for appeal. Appeals from the tribunals go to the Supreme Court.
Created By: Zaid Ijaz
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