Political system of Pakistan

Political system of Pakistan

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Political System Of Pakistan

  • Political System

The process by which laws are made and public resources allocated in society, and to the relationships among those involved in making these decisions.

  • Types
  • Formal
  • The process for electing leaders, the roles and responsibilities of the executive and legislature the organization of political representation, and the accountability and oversight of the state.
  • Informal
  • Informal and customary political systems, norms, and rules can operate within or alongside these formal political institutions.

    Types of political systems

  • Democracy is a political system in which citizens govern themselves either directly or indirectly. The term democracy comes from Greek and means “rule of the people.”
  • Monarchy is a political system in which power resides in a single-family that rules from one generation to the next generation. The power the family enjoys is traditional authority, and many monarchs command respect because their subjects bestow this type of authority on them.
  • Authoritarianism refers to political systems in which an individual or a group of individuals holds power, restricts or prohibits popular participation in governance, and represses dissent.
  • Totalitarianismrefers to political systems that include all the features of authoritarianism but are even more repressive as they try to regulate and control all aspects of citizens’ lives and fortunes.
  • Pakistan is an Islamic and federal parliamentary republic with Islam being its state religion and is classified as a nation-state in South Asia.
  • The politics in Pakistan takes place within the framework under which the country is established by the constitution.
  • The constitution is the system of fundamental laws and principles that prescribe the nature, functions, and limits of government or other institutions.
  • The third Constitution of Pakistan was passed unanimously by the National Assembly on 10 April 1973.
  • The unique thing about this Constitution was that all the major political parties agreed on the draft and signed it before it was presented in the National Assembly.
  • Provides for parliamentary democracy in the country.
  • Assures fundamental rights, provincial autonomy, and local governance.
  • a sense of equality among the federating units by giving equal representation to all provinces in the upper house.
  • The legislative branch makes the laws.

Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) of Pakistan consists of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the National Assembly and the Senate.

  • An assembly composed of the representatives of a nation and usually constituting a legislative body or a constituent assembly.
  • The Senate is a permanent legislative body with equal representation from each of the Four Provinces.
  • There are representatives from the federally administered tribal areas and from Islamabad capital territory.
  • The executive branch of the Pakistani government is the one solely responsible and authorized to perform the daily duties of the state.


Powers of the PM

  • Appoints ministers
  • Allocates cabinet posts
  • Reshuffles cabinet
  • Dismisses ministers

Authority in the cabinet system Powers of the PM

  • Chairs cabinet meetings
  • Manages the cabinet agenda
  • Steers, sums up and determines outcome of cabinet discussions
  • Holds bilateral and informal meetings with key ministers
  • Appoints chairs and members of cabinet committees
  • Restructure central government


  • President acts on advice of prime minister
  • May adopt absolute power to dissolve National Assembly, according to 8% Amendment of the constitution.
  • Primary duty of the president is to preserve,
  • Protect and Defend the Constitution and the law of the state and his duties include
  • Promulgating ordinances and Signing bills into laws,
  • Granting pardons and Reducing sentences.
  • The Judiciary of Pakistan is a hierarchical system with two classes of courts: the superior judiciary and the subordinate judiciary.
  • The superior judiciary is composed of the 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.MILITARY
  • The military in Pakistan has played an influential role in mainstream politics, having taken over from civilian governments on four occasions.
  • Military governments were led by (in the 1960s) General Ayoub Khan and General Yahya Khan, (in the late 1970s and 1980s) General Zia-ul-Haqq, and (from 1999 to 2008), General Pervez Musharraf. In total, military or military-backed civilian regimes have been in power for half of the years of the country’s existence.
  • The influence of the military extends far beyond its constitutional role even in times of civilian rule.
  • The military high command has on occasion acted as a mediator between the government and other state actors, and between political leaders.
  • In addition, it has exerted strong behind the scenes influence on foreign policy, particularly with regard to relations with India and Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan’s electoral history is characterized by the eternal tussle between the civilian and military regimes, with almost half of its existence being characterized by the outright military, or military sponsored rule.
  • Electoral rigging has hampered Pakistan’s democratic development, eroded political stability and contributed to the breakdown of the rule of law.
  • Facing domestic pressure for democracy, successive military governments rigged national, provincial and local polls to ensure regime survival.
  • Electoral reform on all fronts is urgently needed.
  • Highly inaccurate voters lists are responsible for disenfranchising millions.
  • Polling procedures are often manipulated; accountability mechanisms for candidates and political parties seldom employed; and the electoral code of conduct routinely flouted.
  • Dysfunctional election tribunals, characterised by corruption and prolonged delays, prove incapable of resolving post-election disputes
  • Pakistan is a multiparty democratic state where several political parties compete for the government

Major political parties of Pakistan are as under

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf

Pakistan Muslim League – N

Pakistan People’s Party

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan

Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP)

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)

Awami National Party

Awami Workers Party (AWP)

Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (F)

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM Pakistan)


Major political events in Pakistan

  • Pakistani politics has been experiencing many ups and downs since independence in 1947 with the power struggle between civilian and military leaders shaping the country’s political arena. Only three governments have completed their full tenure.
  • The South Asian nation has been ruled by the military for about half of its history since independence in 1947.
  • Ahead of the historic election, we look at major events that have formed the country’s politics.
  • August 14, 1947 – Muslim League leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah, (Father of the nation), is the first governor-general of Pakistan the Muslim majority Pakistan (comprising East and West wings) and Hindu-majority India.
  • October 16, 1951 Liaqat Ali Khan becomes the first prime minister, who drafted the Objectives Resolution – a preamble to the current constitution – is assassinated in Rawalpindi.
  • 1951-1954 – Several prime ministers are dismissed over drafting the constitution and defining the role of various institutions for governance.
  • March 23, 1956 Military strongman Iskander Mirza, who played an important role in the ousting Governor-General Sir Malik Ghulam, is sworn in as the first president and approves Pakistan’s first constitution.
  • October 27, 1958 – Army Commander General Ayub Khan dismisses Mirza in the first successful coup of the country.
  • January 2, 1965 Ayub Khan defeats Fatima Jinnah, and is re-elected as president in an election that is marred by allegations of political rigging by the powerful military.
  • March 25, 1969 Ayub hands over power to Army Chief General Yahya Khan, who imposes martial law for the second time and dissolves all assemblies, after protests led by politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
  • December 7, 1970 First general elections are held with victory of East Pakistani leader of the Awami League, raising tensions with the country’s West wing.
  • March 26, 1971 – Pakistan’s military experiences one of the heaviest setbacks after tensions between East Pakistan and West Pakistan over the outcome of the election lead to war. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who founded Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), assumes power as the country’s only civilian martial law administrator after Indian intervention in Bangladesh results in separation.
  • December 20, 1971 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is elected president
  • August 14, 1973 New constitution comes into effect, giving the power of decision-making to the prime minister and rendering the president as a figurehead. Bhutto, who formulated the constitutional change, becomes the prime minister and Fazal Ellaahi president.
  • March 7, 1977 General elections see a victory for Bhutto’s party amid rigging allegations.
  • July 5, 1977 – Bhutto is deposed by then army chief General Ziaul Haaq and arrested on charges of authorizing a murder of a political opponent. Zia declares martial law.
  • April 4, 1979 –Bhutto is hanged in Rawalpindi after a controversial trial on charges of corruption and extrajudicial killings.
  • February 28, 1985 – General elections are held on a non-party basis. Zia becomes president as Muhammad Khan Junejo is appointed prime minister. The new national assembly ratifies Zia’s actions over the last eight years.
  • August 17, 1988 – Zia dies, along with 31 others, including the US ambassador, in a plane crash.
  • November 16, 1988 – Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, wins elections, becoming the country’s first female prime minister.
  • August 6, 1990 – President Ghulam Ishaq Khan sacks Benazir’s government on charges of corruption.
  • October 24, 1990 Nawaz Sharif becomes prime minister after the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) – a coalition of religious parties and the Pakistan Muslim league widely believed to have been engineered by the military – wins the elections.
  • April 19, 1993 Ghulam Ishaaq Khan dismisses Sharif’s government on charges of corruption.
  • July 18, 1993 Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Sharif resign.
  • October 6, 1993 Benazir is elected prime minister once again.
  • November 14, 1993 Farooq Leghari is elected president.
  • November 5, 1996 –Leghari dismisses Benazir’s government on corruption charges
  • February 3, 1997 –Sharif becomes the prime minister for the second time after his party wins a landslide in general elections.
  • October 12, 1999 –Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf stages a coup to topple the civilian government of Sharif.
  • May 13, 2000 –Supreme Court justices who take their oath under a Provisional Constitutional Order validate the military coup in the country.
  • June 20, 2001 – General Musharraf becomes president while holding the post of chief of army staff.
  • April 30, 2002 –Musharraf holds a referendum on staying on as president for another five years. He wins the majority.
  • October 10, 2002 –General elections are held under Musharraf’s military government. The Pakistan Muslim League-Q wins most seats. Zafarullah Khan Jamali is sworn in as prime minister.
  • August 28, 2004 – Shaukat Aziz, then the finance minister, replaces Jamali as prime minister.
  • October 18, 2007– Bomb blast targets a PPP reception rally for Benazir as she returns to the country for an election bid after a reconciliation deal with Musharraf following an eight-year exile.
  • December 27, 2007 – Benazir is assassinated in a gun and bomb attack after addressing a campaign rally in Rawalpindi.
  • February 18, 2008 – Yousuf Raza Gilani is elected prime minister as the PPP wins general elections.
  • September 6, 2008 – Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, is elected president.
  • April 8, 2010 –Zardari hands over power to dissolve assemblies to the prime minister shifting the country from a semi-presidential system to a complete parliamentary system.
  • June 19, 2012 – Pakistan Supreme Court disqualifies Gilani from his post after finding him in contempt of court.
  • June 22, 2012 –Raja Parvez Ashraf of the PPP is sworn in as prime minister.
  • May 11, 2013 – General elections are held and Sharif becomes prime minister after his PML-N wins the polls.
  • July 28, 2017 –Sharif resigns from office after the Supreme Court disqualifies him over a corruption case related to ownership of luxury flats in London.
  • August 1, 2017 – PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi becomes the new prime minister.
  • July 14, 2018 –Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are arrested after their return to Lahore from London, where they were tending to an ailing wife and mother Kulsoom Nawaz.
  • July 25, 2018 –Elections to be held in Pakistan.
  • Present- PTI government
  • Elections to be held- 2023


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