Politics of Pakistan

Politics of Pakistan

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Politics of Pakistan have taken place in the framework of a federal republic
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

, where the system of government has at times been parliamentary
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

, presidential
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

, or semi-presidential
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

. In the current parliamentary system, the President
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 is the largely ceremonial head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

 is head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and there is a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 is exercised by the government. Legislative power is largely vested in the Parliament.

Executive branch



|President
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...


|Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari is the 11th and current President of Pakistan and the Co-Chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party . He is also the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who served two nonconsecutive terms as Prime Minister....


| PPP
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...


|9 September 2008
|-
|Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...


|Yousaf Raza Gillani
Yousaf Raza Gillani
Yousuf Raza Gilani is the current prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He was nominated as Prime Minister by the PPP, with the support of its coalition partners, Pakistan Muslim League , Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, on 22 March 2008...


|PPP
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...


|March 25, 2008
|}

The president of Pakistan, in keeping with the constitutional provision that the state religion is Islam, must be a Muslim. Elected for a five-year term by an Electoral College
Electoral College of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is chosen by an electoral college, in Pakistan. According to article 41 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, this electoral college consists of the Senate, the National Assembly of Pakistan, and the Members of the Provincial Assemblies. Members of the National Assembly...

 consisting of members of the Senate and National Assembly and members of the provincial assemblies, the president is eligible for re-election. But no individual may hold the office for more than two consecutive terms. The president may resign or be impeached and may be removed from office due to incapacity or gross misconduct by a two-thirds vote of the members of the parliament. The president generally acts on the advice of the prime minister but has important residual powers
Reserve power
In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the head of state without the approval of another branch of the government. Unlike a presidential system of government, the head of state is generally constrained by the cabinet or the...

.

One of the most important of these powers—a legacy of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

; is the president's power to dissolve the National Assembly "in his discretion where, in has arisen in which the Government of the Federation cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the electorate is necessary." This power has twice been granted —by the Eighth Amendment
Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The VIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, was short-time amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, which was passed by the Majlis-e-Shoora, in the absence of elected Parliament of Pakistan, in 1985. The VIII Amendment was drafted and later enforced by the joint Technocratic-Military...

 in 1985 and by the Seventeenth Amendment
Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution Act, 2003 was an amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan passed in December 2003, after over a year of political wrangling between supporters and opponents of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf....

 in 2003—and has twice been revoked—by the Thirteenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The XIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was a short-time amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, adopted by the elected Parliament of Pakistan in 1997 by the government of people elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif...

 in 1997 and by the Eighteenth Amendment
Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
Amendment XVIII of the Constitution of Pakistan, was passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on April 8, 2010, removing the power of the President of Pakistan to dissolve the Parliament unilaterally, turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic, and renaming...

 in 2010. Despite this most recent power-stripping, the President remains the ex officio chair of the National Security Council
National Security Council of Pakistan
The Prime minister Secretariat National Security Council is a consultative body that is chaired by the President of Pakistan and Prime minister of Pakistan. It is a principal forum that is mandated for considering national security and foreign policy matters with the senior national security...

, as per the National Security Act 2004.

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 the ministers, ministers of state, and advisers. As of early 1994, there were thirty-three ministerial portfolios: commerce; communications; culture; defence; defence 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; railways; religious affairs; science and technology; social welfare; special education; sports; state and frontier regions; tourism; water and power; women's development; and youth affairs. Opposition is being Led by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Legislative branch


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).

Pakistan's democracy has no recall
Recall election
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended...

 method. However, past governments have been dismissed for corruption by the President's invocation of Article 58 of the Constitution. The President's power to dismiss the Prime Minister and dissolve the National Assembly was removed by the Thirteenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The XIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was a short-time amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, adopted by the elected Parliament of Pakistan in 1997 by the government of people elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif...

 and partially restored by the Seventeenth Amendment
Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution Act, 2003 was an amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan passed in December 2003, after over a year of political wrangling between supporters and opponents of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf....

.

Senate


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 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



Members of the National Assembly are elected by universal adult suffrage (formerly twenty-one years of age and older but the seventeenth amendment changed it to eighteen years of age.). Seats are allocated to each of the four provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Islamabad Capital Territory on the basis of population. National Assembly members serve for the parliamentary term, which is five years, unless they die or resign sooner, or unless the National Assembly is dissolved. Although the vast majority of the members are Muslim, about 5 percent of the seats are reserved for minorities, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs. Elections for minority seats are held on the basis of separate electorates at the same time as the polls for Muslim seats during the general elections. There are also 50+ special seats for women now, and women are selected (i.e. not directly elected in the general election but given representation according to how their parties performed in the general election) on these seat by their party head: another seventeenth amendment innovation.

Political parties and elections



Composition of Parliament (As per Results of the 2008 General Elections)

Parties Votes % Elected seats Reserved seats (Women) Reserved seats (Minorities) Total
Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

10,606,486 30.6% 94 23 4 130
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
The Pakistan Muslim League is a conservative political party in Pakistan, affiliated with Western conservatism...

6,781,445 19.6% 71 17 3 95
Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
The Pakistan Muslim League or officially Pakistan Muslim League is a centrist, modern political party in Pakistan. The present form of PML-Q was formed prior to 2002 general elections....

7,989,817 23.0% 42 10 2 55
Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Muttahida Qaumi Movement generally known as MQM, is a liberal-secular political party of Pakistan. It is generally known as a party which holds immense mobilizing potential in province of Sindh...

2,507,813 7.4% 19 5 1 26
Awami National Party
Awami National Party
The Awami National Party is an Pashtun nationalist, socialist, centre-left political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International...

700,479 2.0% 10 3 0 13
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal is a coalition of Islamist parties that was formed in 2002 to electorally challenge the Pakistan Parliament's incumbent parties...

  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F)
    Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
    The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam is a political party in Pakistan. It formed a combined government in national elections in 2002 and 2008...


Note: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan
Jamaat-e-Islami
This article is about Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. For other organizations of similar name see Jamaat-e-Islami The Jamaat-e-Islami , is a Pro-Muslim political party in Pakistan...

, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan
Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan is a political party in Pakistan. It is part of the Islamic Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, that won at the last legislative elections, 20 October 2002, 11.3 of the popular vote and 53 out of 272 elected members.This party belongs to the Sunni current, which in...

, Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan and Jamiat Ahle Hadith
Jamiat Ahle Hadith
Jamiat Ahle Hadith is a religio-political party in Pakistan promoting the Ahle Hadees religious movement. It is part of the Islamic fundamentalist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, that won at the last legislative elections, 20 October 2002 with 11.3 percent of the popular vote...

 did not participate.
772,798 2.2% 5 1 0 6
Pakistan Muslim League (F)
Pakistan Muslim League (F)
The Pakistan Muslim League is a political party in Pakistan. It is one of the factions of the original Pakistan Muslim League. The letter 'F' in its name stands for functional. It is primarily associated with the Sindhi religious leader Pir Pagara...

4 1 0 5
Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao) 140,707 0.4% 1 0 0 1
National Peoples Party
National Peoples Party
The National Peoples Party is a political party in Pakistan most active in the province of Sindh and southern parts of Punjab. It was founded in 1986 by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi after falling out with Benazir Bhutto and leaving her Pakistan Peoples Party.In the 2008 Pakistani general elections the...

1 0 0 1
Balochistan National Party (Awami)
Balochistan National Party
The Balochistan National Party or Balochistan National Party is a political party in Balochistan, Pakistan...

1 0 0 1
Independents 18 0 0 18
Total 34,665,978 100% 266 60 10 336
Source: Election Commission of Pakistan, Adam Carr's Electoral Archive

Judicial branch


The judiciary includes the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court is the apex court in Pakistan's judicial hierarchy, the final arbiter of legal and constitutional disputes. The Supreme Court has a permanent seat in Islamabad. It has number of Branch Registries where cases are heard. It has a number of de jure powers which are outlined in the...

, 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 as well established in all provinces.

Supreme Court


The Supreme Court has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the president; the other Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice. The chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court may remain in office until age sixty-five: now 68 years and this is also another clause of seventeenth amendment.

Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan


he 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, from amongst the serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or a High Court or from amongst persons possessing the qualifications of judges of a High 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.
Appeal against its decisions lie to the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of 3 Muslim judges of the Supreme Court and 2 Ulema, appointed 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.
Ever since its establishment in 1980, the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan has been the subject of criticism and controversy in the society. Created as an islamisation measure by the military regime and subsequently protected under the controversial 8th Amendment, its opponents question the very rationale and utility of this institution. It is stated that this court merely duplicates the functions of the existing superior courts and also operates as a check on the sovereignty of Parliament. The composition of the court, particularly the mode of appointment of its judges and the insecurity of their tenure, is taken exception to, and it is alleged, that this court does not fully meet the criterion prescribed for the independence of the judiciary. That is to say, it is not immune to pressures and influences from the Executive.
In the past, this court was used as a refuge for the recalcitrant judges. And whereas some of its judgments, particularly the ones which relying on the Islamic concept of equity, justice and fair play, expanded and enlarged the scope and contents of individual’s rights were commended, others that tend to restrict the rights of women, are severely criticised and deplored.

Provincial & High Courts


In every province,there is one High Court.Currently all four provinces Punjab
Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population. Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the...

, Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

 have High courts,respectively called Lahore High Court
Lahore High Court
The Lahore High Court is based in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. It was established as a high court on March 21, 1919. The Lahore High Court has jurisdiction over Punjab...

, Sindh High Court
Sindh High Court
The High Court of Sindh is the highest judicial institution of Sindh province. Established in 1906, it is situated at provincial capital Karachi. Apart from being the highest Court of Appeal for Sindh in civil and criminal matters, the Court was the District Court and the Court of Session in...

, Peshawar High Court
Peshawar High Court
The Peshawar High Court is the highest judicial institution of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It is situated at the provincial capital Peshawar.-History:...

,and Balochistan High Court
Balochistan High Court
The High Court of Balochistan is the highest judicial institution of Balochistan, Pakistan. The court is formally known as High Court of Balochistan...

.After the approval of 18th Constitutional Amendment in April 2010,a new High court is established at Federal Capital Islamabad with the name of Islambad High Court.In 18th Amendment, judges appointments are proposed by a Parliamentary Commission. Judges of the provincial high courts were, previously appointed ( The seventeenth amendment give these powers to the president, previously Prime minister exercised them) by the president after consultation with the chief justice of the Supreme Court, as well as the governor of the province and the chief justice of the high court to which the appointment is being made. High courts have original and appellate jurisdiction.

In addition, there are special courts and tribunals to deal with specific kinds of cases, such as drug courts, commercial courts, labour 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 labour and traffic courts, which have their own forums for appeal. Appeals from the tribunals go to the Supreme Court.

Ombudsman/Mohtasib


A further feature of the judicial system is the office of Mohtasib (Ombudsman), which is provided for in the constitution. The office of Mohtasib was established in many early Muslim states to ensure that no wrongs were done to citizens. Appointed by the president, the Mohtasib holds office for four years; the term cannot be extended or renewed. The Mohtasib's purpose is to institutionalize a system for enforcing administrative accountability, through investigating and rectifying any injustice done to a person through maladministration by a federal agency or a federal government official. The Mohtasib is empowered to award compensation to those who have suffered loss or damage as a result of maladministration. Excluded from jurisdiction, however, are personal grievances or service matters of a public servant as well as matters relating to foreign affairs, national defence, and the armed services. This institution is designed to bridge the gap between administrator and citizen, to improve administrative processes and procedures, and to help curb misuse of discretionary powers.

Political background



Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 has been ruled by both democratic and military governments. The first decade was marred with political unrest and instability resulting in frequent collapses of civilian democratic governments. From 1947 to 1958 as many as seven Prime Ministers of Pakistan either resigned or were ousted. This political instability paved the way for Pakistan’s first military take over. On October 7, 1958 Pakistan’s civilian and first President Iskander Mirza in collaboration with General Mohammad Ayub Khan abrogated Pakistan’s constitution and declared Martial Law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

.

General Ayub Khan was the president from 1958 to 1969, and General Yahya Khan
Yahya Khan
General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan Qizilbash, H.Pk, HJ, S.Pk, psc was the third President of Pakistan from 1969 to 1971, following the resignation of Ayub Khan...

 from 1969 to 1971, Justice Khan Habibullah Khan Marwat elected first & second Chairman Senate of Pakistan several times Mr. Khan Sahib acted as a President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

 as the first civilian martial law administrator. Civilian, yet autocratic, rule continued from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

, but he was deposed by General Zia-Ul-Haq
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq , was the 4th Chief Martial Law Administrator and the sixth President of Pakistan from July 1977 to his death in August 1988...

. General Zia was killed in a plane crash in 1988, after which Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

. She was the youngest woman ever to be elected the Head of Government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 and the first woman to be elected as the Head of Government of a Muslim country. Her government was followed by that of Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani conservative politician and steel magnate who served as 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993, and from February 1997 to October 12, 1999...

, and the two leaders alternated until the military coup by General Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

 in 1999. From the resignation of President
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 Rafiq Tarar in 2001, to his own resignation in 2008, Musharraf was the President of Pakistan. In 2008, Asif Ali Zardari was elected president.

Nation-wide parliamentary elections were held in October 2002, with the PML-Q winning a plurality of seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan
National Assembly of Pakistan
The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

, and Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali was the 13th Prime Minister of Pakistan and former Chairman of the Pakistan Hockey Federation.-Early life:Born in Baluchistan, Jamali was the second Baluch Prime Minister of Pakistan...

 of that party emerging as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

.
Jamali resigned on June 26, 2004. PML
Pakistan Muslim League
The Pakistan Muslim League was founded in 1962, as a successor to the previously disbanded Muslim League in Pakistan. Unlike the original PML which ended in 1958 when General Ayub Khan banned all political parties, each subsequent Muslim League was in some way propped by the military dictators of...

-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is a politician from Pakistan who was the Prime Minister of that country from June 30, 2004 until August 28 2004...

 became interim PM, and was succeeded by Finance Minister
Finance Minister of Pakistan
The Finance Minister of Pakistan heads the Ministry of Finance and serves in the Prime Minister's cabinet. The Minister is required to be a member of the Parliament.The current finance minister is Abdul Hafeez Shaikh...

 and former Citibank
Citibank
Citibank, a major international bank, is the consumer banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later First National City Bank of New York...

 Vice President Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz is a world acclaimed Pakistani economist who was the 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan from May 20, 2004 to 15 November 2007 in a joint military government led by General Pervez Musharraf. A Citibank executive, Aziz returned to Pakistan from the United States to be became Finance...

, who was elected Prime Minister on August 27, 2004 by a National Assembly vote of 191 to 151.

In the October 2002 general elections, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
The Pakistan Muslim League or officially Pakistan Muslim League is a centrist, modern political party in Pakistan. The present form of PML-Q was formed prior to 2002 general elections....

 (PML-Q) won a plurality of National Assembly seats with the second-largest group being the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), a sub-party of the PPP. Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali was the 13th Prime Minister of Pakistan and former Chairman of the Pakistan Hockey Federation.-Early life:Born in Baluchistan, Jamali was the second Baluch Prime Minister of Pakistan...

 of PML-Q emerged as Prime Minister but resigned on 26 June 2004 and was replaced by PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain is a politician from Pakistan who was the Prime Minister of that country from June 30, 2004 until August 28 2004...

 as interim Prime Minister. On 28 August 2004 the National Assembly voted 191 to 151 to elect the Finance Minister
Finance Minister of Pakistan
The Finance Minister of Pakistan heads the Ministry of Finance and serves in the Prime Minister's cabinet. The Minister is required to be a member of the Parliament.The current finance minister is Abdul Hafeez Shaikh...

 and former Citibank
Citibank
Citibank, a major international bank, is the consumer banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later First National City Bank of New York...

 Vice President Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz
Shaukat Aziz is a world acclaimed Pakistani economist who was the 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan from May 20, 2004 to 15 November 2007 in a joint military government led by General Pervez Musharraf. A Citibank executive, Aziz returned to Pakistan from the United States to be became Finance...

 as Prime Minister. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal is a coalition of Islamist parties that was formed in 2002 to electorally challenge the Pakistan Parliament's incumbent parties...

, a coalition of Islamic religious parties, won elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and increased their representation in the National Assembly - until their defeat in the 2008 elections.

The Pakistan's federal cabinet on April 12, 2006 decided that general elections would be held after the completion of the assemblies constitutional term by the end of 2007 or beginning of 2008.

Form of Government


Officially a federal republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, Pakistan has had a long history of alternating periods of electoral democracy and authoritarian military government. Military presidents
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 include General Ayub Khan in the 1960s, General Zia ul Haq in the 1980s, and General Pervez Musharraf from 1999. However, a majority of Pakistan's Heads of State
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and Heads of Government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 have been elected civilian leaders. General elections were held in October 2002. After monitoring the elections, the Commonwealth Observer Group stated in conclusion:
We believe that on election day this was a credible election: the will of the people was expressed and the results reflected their wishes. However, in the context of various measures taken by the government we are not persuaded of the overall fairness of the process as a whole.


On May 22, 2004, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group re-admitted Pakistan into the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, formally acknowledging its progress in returning to democracy.

Provincial Governments



Pakistan is subdivided into 4 provinces, 2 territories, and 1 capital territory. Each province has a Provincial Assembly, a directly elected legislature. Members are elected for five-year terms. Each Assembly elects a Chief Minister, who then selects the ministers of his or her cabinet.
  • Balochistan
  • Federally Administered Tribal Areas*
  • Islamabad Capital Territory
    Islamabad Capital Territory
    The Islamabad Capital Territory is one of the two federal territories of Pakistan. It includes Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, and covers an area of 1,165.5 km² of which 906 km² is Islamabad proper...

    **
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Punjab
  • Sindh
    Sindh
    Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

  • Gilgit-Baltistan has semi-provincial status with a directly elected Legislature,an elected Chief minister and federally appointed Governor for the region.

  • Note; the Federally administered portion also includes the disputed/held Kashmir
    Kashmir
    Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

     region includes Azad Kashmir
    Azad Kashmir
    Azad Jammu and Kashmir or Azad Kashmir for short, is the southernmost political entity within the Pakistani-administered part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir...

     and the Northern Areas.

Local Governments


Pakistan's provinces are divided into distrcts called zillas in local languages (counterpart to a county in US or UK terminology). A zilla is further subdivided into tehsils (roughly equivalent to a borough in an integrated multi-tier (federated) systemic context, such as the one to be found in Montreal (Canada, 2002) and Birmingham (UK, 2001 announcement) or known as arrondissement
Arrondissement
Arrondissement is any of various administrative divisions of France, certain other Francophone countries, and the Netherlands.-France:The 101 French departments are divided into 342 arrondissements, which may be translated into English as districts. The capital of an arrondissement is called a...

s in French context. Tehsils may contain town or municipalities. Pakistan's system is the one that applies an integrated federated systemic framework most comprehensively, so far.

This methodology is not new to the region, as it is similar to what is referred to as the old Panchayat Raj system
Panchayati Raj
The panchayat raj is a South Asian political system mainly in India, Pakistan, and Nepal. "Panchayat" literally means assembly of five wise and respected elders chosen and accepted by the local community. Traditionally, these assemblies settled disputes between individuals and villages...

 in India that was introduced by Britain during the colonial era. In the 1890s Britain had become the first nation to adapt the two-tier administrative framework of revolutionary Paris (1790) onto pre-existing parish councils in the urban context (London) and into three tiers in the rural context (county, district, parish councils). In India it was implemented in some regions and not others; and then allowed to lie fallow. It got new life after the very successful West Bengal revival in the 1970s, which eventually inspired the 1990s Constitutional Amendment making it national policy.

The main difference is that Pakistan is the only country with an urban framework, as well, in the region today; and Pakistan's system has common-representational framework between tiers (as Montreal and Birmingham also have in two-tier context—even though Birmingham is working on implementing a three-tier system); and, it has a bottom-up representational framework like the Canadian example. Pakistan had the only three-tier integrated bottom-up common-representational local government system, until it was adapted for another country in 2003. UK, the country which first introduced this methodology in the region, also has the urban examples of London and Birmingham (being implemented in the post-2001 era by building on steps first introduced in 1980s); as does France (where largest cities and smaller units have created such frameworks either by devolution (Marseilles and Lyon, in addition to Paris) or by integration of neighbouring units (such as the Nantes region pursuant to the Marcellin Act of 1970s); and Canada.

This methodology is being increasingly adapted, as it delivers greater systemic productivity, being a more inclusive framework that provides greater regional integration. In the US, the seven county Twin Cities (MN) regional system and Portland (OR) Metro are both the most integrated US examples; but, also those often cited in the US for what they have achieved. These US examples - with their multi-county framework - are similar to what is in place in France after regional unit introduction (making France have a three-tier systemic framework also in the Commune (municipal/lowest tier local unit), Department (county), Regional unit context). Multi-county frameworks are suitable for a very suburbanized system like in the US. After France and Britain, the Indian colony of Britain was the third region to see this methodology implemented.

There are over five thousand local governments in Pakistan. Since 2001, the vast majority of these have been led by democratically elected local councils, each headed by a Nazim (mayor or supervisor.) Council elections are held every four years.

A soulless political system


A political system may be seen as consisting of two components: structure and culture. It is on these components and how they interact that the effectiveness of a political system hinges. The political structure is the set of roles created by the constitution and laws made thereunder that are formalised into offices and institutions. Political culture is the psychological dimension of the political system and consists of attitudes, beliefs and values prevalent in the polity and society. To use a figure of speech, whereas structure is the form or body of the political system, culture is its substance or soul.

A given political system may have all the ingredients of a democratic dispensation, such as a written constitution distributing powers among various state organs and defining the relationship between the governors and the governed through fundamental rights and duties, political parties, which offer alternative solutions to public problems, an election commission to conduct polls in a free, fair and transparent manner, parliament, which expresses the popular will, the executive to carry out that will, and the judiciary to ensure the rule of law, justice and expeditious settlement of disputes.

But the real test of a political system is to have the corresponding culture. It is easier to establish a democratic political structure than to have a democratic political culture. It is easier to set up political institutions than to strengthen them. It is easier to draw up a democratic constitution than to work it in a democratic fashion. It is easier to hold elections than to conduct them fairly and squarely. It is easier to form a political party and keep it intact than to run it democratically.

For a political system to be effective, the elaborate political structure must be supported by a vital political culture. When the written provisions of the constitution are not backed by healthy constitutional conventions; when parliament passes laws and adopts resolutions but is deficient in the will to enforce them; when the institutions fail to draw respect from those who are supposed to uphold them; when politics becomes no more than a corporate affair; when political parties are reduced to a platform to prop up relatives; when governance becomes the instrument of rewarding cronies and penalizing opponents; when elections have a per-determined outcome; when candidates get votes not because of their credentials but because they can use to their advantage the carrot or the stick; when the courts feel shy of bringing the high and mighty to the book, or when they set about doing so their decisions are disregarded or ridiculed; when leaders are revered as saints beyond criticism and beyond error; when demagogues are regarded as saviors; and when there is law but not the rule of law. The political system of Pakistan is the victim of the same structure-culture, form-substance, body-soul dichotomy.

A strong political system embodies a consensus among political forces against political authoritarianism, which is the hallmark of a truly democratic polity. In India, for instance, there are parties of the right, center and the left, which may differ on this point or that but all agree that the country should be a multiparty democracy. Probably it is this agreement that, more than any other factor, has prevented any military adventurer from stepping in. Conversely, in Pakistan military takeover has always found a lot of political support and sympathy. Even today there is strong political support for the armed forces’ political role.

Foreign relations



Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 is the second largest Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 country in terms of population, and its status as a declared nuclear power, being the only Muslim nation to have that status, plays a part in its international role. It is also an active member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. Historically, its foreign policy has encompassed difficult relations with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, a desire for a stable Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, long-standing close relations with the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, extensive security and economic interests in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 and wide-ranging bilateral relations with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and other Western countries. Pakistan is also an important member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Pakistan has used the OIC as a forum for Enlightened Moderation
Enlightened moderation
Enlightened moderation, is a term coined by former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, which applies to practicing Islam moderately, as opposed to practicing fundamentalist version of Islam...

, its plan to promote a renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 in the Islamic world.

Wary of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 expansion, Pakistan had strong relations with both the United States of America and the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 during much of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.
It was a member of the CENTO
Cento
Cento is a city and comune in the province of Ferrara, part of the region Emilia-Romagna . In Italian "cento" means 100.-History:The name Cento is a reference to the centuriation of the Po Valley...

 and SEATO military alliances. Its alliance with the United States was especially close after the Soviets invaded the neighbouring country of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

In 1964, Pakistan signed the Regional Cooperation for Development
Regional Cooperation for Development
Regional Cooperation for Development was a multi-governmental organization which was originally established in 1964 by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey to allow socio-economic development of the member states. In 1979, this organization was dissolved...

 (RCD) Pact with Turkey and Iran, when all three countries were closely allied with the U.S., and as neighbours of the Soviet Union, wary of perceived Soviet expansionism. To this day, Pakistan has a close relationship with Turkey. RCD became defunct after the Iranian Revolution, and a Pakistani-Turkish initiative led to the founding of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) in 1985. Pakistan's relations with India have improved recently and this has opened up Pakistan's foreign policy to issues beyond security. This development might completely change the complexion of Pakistan's foreign relations.

Pakistan joined the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 in 1979.

See also


  • Political families of Pakistan
    Political families of Pakistan
    This is a partial listing of prominent political families of Pakistan.Royal families are not included, unless certain later descendants have played political roles in a republican structure.- Bhutto family :The members of Bhutto family in politics:...

  • Court system of Pakistan
    Court system of Pakistan
    Court system of Pakistan is made up of many courts differing in levels of legal superiority and separated by jurisdiction. Some of the courts are federal in nature while others are provincial.-Structure of courts in Pakistan:...


External links