The Prime Minister of Pakistan (Urdu: وزِیرِ اعظم — Wazīr-ē Aʿẓam, Urdu pronunciation: [ʋəˈziːr-ˌeː ˈɑː.zəm]; lit. "Grand Vizier"), is the head of government of Pakistan and designated as the "chief executive of the Republic". The Prime Minister leads the executive branch of the government, oversees the economic growth, leads the National Assembly, heads the Council of Common Interests as well as the Cabinet, and is vested with the command authority over the nuclear arsenals.
This position places its holder in leadership of the nation and in control over all matters of internal and foreign policy. The last holder of this position was Nawaz Sharif who was disqualified by the Supreme Court. He was replaced by interim Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The Prime Minister is elected by the members of the National Assembly and therefore is usually the leader of the majority party in the parliament. The Constitution of Pakistan vests the executive powers in the Prime Minister, who is responsible for appointing the Cabinet as well as running the executive branch, taking and authorising executive decisions, appointments and recommendations that require executive confirmation of the Prime Minister.
Constitutionally, the Prime Minister serves as the chief adviser to President of Pakistan on critical matters and plays an influential role in appointment in each branch of the military leadership as well as ensuring the control of the military through chairman joint chiefs. Powers of the Prime Minister have significantly grown with a delicate system of the check and balance by each branch. The position was absent during years of 1960–73 and 1977–85 due to imposed martial law. In each of these periods, the military junta led by the President had the powers of the Prime Minister.
The Constitution envisages a scheme of affairs in which the President of Pakistan is the head of state who represents the "unity of the Republic." The system of government in Pakistan is based on codified constitution which sees the Prime Minister as "chief executive of the Republic."
Subject to the Constitution, the executive authority of the Federation shall be exercised in the name of the President by the Federal Government, consisting of the Prime Minister and the Federal Ministers, which shall act through the Prime Minister, who shall be the chief executive of the Federation."
— Article 90(1) in Chapter 3: The Federal Government of Part III: The Federation of Pakistan in the Constitution of Pakistan, source
In addition, the Prime Minister is also the chairman of the Council of Common Interests as set by:
(1) There shall be a Council of Common Interests, in this Chapter referred to as the Council, to be appointed by the President
(2) The Council shall consist of-(c) three members from the Federal Government to be nominated by the Prime Minister from time to time.
(a) the Prime Minister who shall be the Chairman of the Council;
(b) the Chief Ministers of the Provinces;
— Article 153 in Chapter 3: Special Provisions of Part V: Relations between Federation and Provinces in the Constitution of Pakistan, source
As in most of the parliamentary democracies, a head of state's duties are mostly ceremonial. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is the head of government and has the responsibility for executive power. With Pakistan following a parliamentary system of government, the Prime minister is generally the leader of a party (or coalition of parties) that has a majority in the National Assembly —the lower house of the Parliament of Pakistan. The Prime minister, in common with all other ministers, either has to be a current member of National Assembly, or be elected within six months of being appointed.
Role and powers of the Prime minister
The official residence and principal workplace of the Prime Minister is the Prime Minister's Office located in northeast Islamabad. The Prime Minister is the Chief Executive who heads and exercises the authority of the Government of Pakistan. After obtaining a vote of confidence, the Prime Minister is invited by the President to take the oath of office and form the government. In practice, the Prime Minister nominates the members of the Cabinet who supervise the important functions and ministries of the Government of Pakistan. In addition, the Prime Minister communicates to the President all decisions of the Cabinet relating to the administration of affairs of state and proposals for legislation.
The Prime Minister, in consultation with the Cabinet, schedules and attends the sessions of the Parliament and is required to answer questions from Members of Parliament to the ministers.
Some specific ministries/department are not allocated to anyone in the cabinet but the prime minister himself. The prime minister is usually always in-charge/Chairman of:
The Prime minister is vested with command authority over the Pakistani nuclear arsenals and represents the country in various delegations, high-level meetings and international organisations that require the attendance of the highest government office and also addresses the nation on various issues of national importance.
The Constitution of Pakistan requires that the Prime Minister be a member of the National Assembly. As well as this, one must:
- be a citizen of Pakistan.
- be a Muslim
- be above 35 years of age
- be able to prove good conduct of character and be not commonly known to violate Islamic injunctions
- have adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practice obligatory duties prescribed by Islam, as well as abstaining from major sins
- have not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the ideology of Pakistan.
Selection and removal
The candidates for the prime minister are members of the National Assembly or Senate who were chosen through direct elections by popular vote following campaigning on the party platforms. Usually, the leader of the majority party in the parliament retains the office of prime minister, and forms the government either by coalition or by simple majority. The candidate must retain the vote of confidence of the members of the parliament before being invited by the President to form the government.
The Prime Minister can be removed before the expiry of the term through a vote of no confidence in the parliament. If the vote of no confidence is passed by the National Assembly by not less than 20%, the Prime Minister ceases to retain the office. In the past, prime ministers (and their governments) have been dismissed by the President exercising the VIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan (1985), but this was repealed by the XVIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan (2010). In addition, the Prime Minister himself has absolute constitutional immunity from criminal and civil proceedings, and no proceedings can be initiated or continued against him during the term of his office.
In 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ceased at least one Prime Minister from retaining the office due to contempt of court after retroactively disqualifying the membership of the parliament permanently.
On 28 July 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from retaining the office due to his failure in fulfilling the eligibility requirements as enshrined in Articles 62 of the Constitution. This was in the aftermath of the Supreme Court hearing regarding the Panama Papers Case. This also resulted in him being permanently disqualified from membership of the parliament.
The prime minister is elected by the National Assembly. The National Assembly meets on the twenty-first day after a general election (at least every five years) unless the President calls for a vote of no confidence. Whichever member of the National assembly is chosen serves as the Prime Minister until the next election or until he fails to maintain the confidence of the National Assembly.
91. The Cabinet:
(1) There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers, with the Prime Minister at its head, to aid and advise the President in the exercise of his functions.
(2) The National Assembly shall meet on the twenty-first day following the day on which a general election to the Assembly is held unless sooner summoned by the President.
(3) After the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the National Assembly shall, to the exclusion of any other business, proceed to elect without debate one of its Muslim members to be the Prime Minister.
(4) The Prime Minister shall be elected by the votes of the majority of the total membership of the National Assembly:
Provided that, if no member secures such majority in the first poll, a second poll shall be held between the members who secure the two highest numbers of votes in the first poll and the member who secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting shall be declared to have been elected as Prime Minister:
Provided further that, if the number of votes secured by two or more members securing the highest number of votes is equal, further poll shall be held between them until one of them secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting.
(5) The member elected under clause (4) shall be called upon by the President to assume the office of Prime Minister and he shall, before entering upon the office, make before the President oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule:
Provided that there shall be no restriction on the number of terms for the office of the Prime Minister.
Oath of office
The Prime Minister is required to make and subscribe to, in the presence of the President, an oath or affirmation that they shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution as follows:
I, ____________, do swear solemnly that l am a Muslim and believe in the Unity and Oneness of Almighty Allah, the Books of Allah, the Holy Qura'an being the last of them, the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last of the Prophets and that there can be no Prophet after him, the Day of Judgment, and all the requirements and teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah:
That I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan:
That, as Prime Minister of Pakistan, I will discharge my duties, and perform my functions, hon-estly, to the best of my ability, faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well- being and prosperity of Pakistan:
That I will strive to preserve the Islamic Ideology which is the basis for the creation of Pakistan:
That I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions:
That I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:
That, in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favor, affection or ill- will:
And that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as Prime Minister except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as Prime Minister.May Allah Almighty help and guide me (A'meen).
— Article 91 in Chapter 3: The Federal Governmentin Part III: The Federation of Pakistan in the Constitution of Pakistan
Past Prime Ministers
Chronological list of Prime Ministers with tenure
Main article: List of Prime Ministers of Pakistan
- Living former prime ministers
20th (Interim), served 2007–2008
(1950-08-19) August 19, 1950 (age 67)
13th, served 1990-93, 1993, 1997-99, 2013-17
(1949-12-25) December 25, 1949 (age 68)
The office was created on immediate effect after the partition and the establishment of Pakistan in 1947; the Prime Minister existed alongside the Governor-General who was the representative of English Monarchy. The first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, exercised central executive powers until his assassination in 1951. However, the powers slowly began to be reduced as a result of constant intervention by the Governor-General. Despite the first set of the Constitution giving central power in 1956, the next six prime ministers were dismissed by the Governor-General from 1951 till 1957. In addition, the first set of the Constitution had evolved the Governor-General into the President of Pakistan whilst declaring the country as "Islamic republic". In 1958, PresidentIskandar Mirza dismissed the seventh prime minister to impose martial law in a mere two weeks, President Mirza was ousted by army chief General Ayub Khan who had for a brief period held the post of Prime Minister.
In 1962, the second set of the Constitution completely dissolved the office of prime minister as all powers were transferred to the President of Pakistan. Criticism over the presidency after the presidential election held in 1965 over the centralizing of powers. After the general elections held in 1970, the office was established with Nurul Amin becoming the Prime Minister who was also the Vice-President. Negotiations that fall apart between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mujibur Rehman, and Yahya Khan that prompted to liberation movement in the East Pakistan. With India intervening in East Pakistan and Pakistan conceding defeat to end the war led to the collapse of the presidential system in 1971.
As the comprehensive Constitution reinstated in 1973, the post was reestablished with more central powers as the constitution provided a parliamentary system with President of Pakistan as figurehead. Amid agitation instigated by the right-wing alliance invited the military intervention in 1977 which suspended the post.
The general elections held in 1985 restored the post, with Muhammad Junejo becoming the Prime Minister. Later that year, the National Assembly passed the controversial eighth amendment to the Constitution, giving the President the power to dismiss the Prime Minister and the National Assembly without prior consultation. The general elections in 1988 resulted in the Pakistan Peoples Party's Benazir Bhutto becoming the first woman Prime Minister elected in a Muslim country.
From 1988 to 1993, the power struggle between the Prime Minister and Presidency continued with President dismissing the National Assembly on three different occasions. At the 1997 elections, the PML(N) secured a two-thirds majority in the Parliament and drafted the XIII and XIV Amendments to reverse the eighth amendment to the Constitution; this allowed Nawaz Sharif to centralize more executive powers. After the draw down of civil-military relations in 1999, Chairman joint chiefs General Pervez Musharraf staged a coup d'état against the PML(N)'s government and held nationwide elections in 2002.
With no party gaining a majority, a coalition was formed with the PML(Q) – a breakaway of the PML(N) and a pro-Musharraf party – leading with MQM. After some political wrangling, Zafarullah Jamali became the Prime Minister, and passed the XVII amendment which partially restored the power of the President to dissolve the National Assembly, but made the dissolution subject to the Supreme Court of Pakistan's approval.
Over the authority issues,[clarification needed] Prime Minister Jamali resigned in 2004 and Shaukat Aziz was eventually appointed as Prime Minister, securing 151 out of 191 votes in the National Assembly. The XVII amendment featured a semi-presidential system allowing the presidency to keep the interference[clarification needed]executive and the judiciary. The general elections in 2008 resulted in the PPP coming to power and supporting the movement to oust Pervez Musharraf. A populist intellectual movement leading to the departure of Pervez Musharraf] allowed Asif Zardari to become President. In 2010, the XVIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was passed to reverse the XVII amendment; it returned the country to being a parliamentary democraticrepublic. In addition, the XVIII Amendment removed all powers of the presidency to dissolve the Parliament unilaterally and sweep away the powers amassed by the former presidents Pervez Musharraf and Zia-ul-Haq to maintain a delicate check and balance.
Following a contempt of court case, the Supreme Court permanently disqualified Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani. Originally, the PPP nomination was Makhdoom Shahbuddin, but he was forced to withdraw after the ANF issued non-bailable arrest warrants against him.Raja Pervaiz Ashraf became the Prime Minister and remained in office until 2013. The general election held in 2013 saw the PML(N) almost achieve a supermajority. Following this, Nawaz Sharif was elected as Prime Minister, returning to the post for the third time after a fourteen-year absence, in a democratic transition. In 2017, Sharif was forced to step down as the prime minister following corruption charges against him.
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- ^Article 46(a) in Chapter 1: The President in Part III: The Federation of Pakistan of the Constitution of Pakistan
- ^"Chapter 2: "Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)" of Part III: "The Federation of Pakistan"". www.pakistani.org.
- ^Hanif, Mohammad (13 May 2013). "Pakistan elections: how Nawaz Sharif beat Imran Khan and what happens next". The Guardians, Pakistan Bureau. The Guardians. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- ^Boone, Jon (17 May 2013). "Nawaz Sharif: rightwing tycoon who has won over liberals – for now". The Guardians. The Guardians. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- ^Aziz, Mazhar (2007). The Military Control In Pakistan: The Parallel State. United States: Routledge. ISBN 1134074107. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- ^Omar, Imtiaz (2002). Emergency powers and the courts in India and Pakistan. England: Kluwer Law International. ISBN 904111775X.
- ^Article 248(1) in Chapter 4: constitutionGeneral of Part XII: Miscellaneous in the Constitution of Pakistan.
- ^Walsh, declan (19 June 2012). "Political Instability Rises as Pakistani Court Ousts Premier". New York Times, Pakistan Bureau. New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- ^Nauman, Qaiser (19 June 2012). "Pakistan Supreme Court disqualifies prime minister". Reuters, Pakistan Bureau. Reuters. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
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Pervez Musharraf, (born August 11, 1943, New Delhi, India), Pakistani military officer who took power in a coup in 1999. He served as president of Pakistan from 2001 to 2008.
Musharraf moved with his family from New Delhi to Karachi in 1947, when Pakistan was separated from India. The son of a career diplomat, he lived in Turkey during 1949–56. He joined the army in 1964, graduated from the Army Command and Staff College in Quetta, and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He held a number of appointments in the artillery, the infantry, and commando units and also taught at the Staff College in Quetta and in the War Wing of the National Defence College. He fought in Pakistan’s 1965 and 1971 wars with India. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him head of the armed forces in October 1998. Musharraf is believed to have played a key role in the invasion of the Indian-administered portion of the disputed Kashmir region in the summer of 1999. Under international pressure, Sharif later ordered the troops to pull back to Pakistani-controlled territory, a move that angered the military.
On October 12, 1999, while Musharraf was out of the country, Sharif dismissed him and tried to prevent the plane carrying Musharraf home from landing at the Karachi airport. The armed forces, however, took control of the airport and other government installations and deposed Sharif, paving the way for Musharraf to become head of a military government. Although he was generally considered to hold moderate views and promised an eventual return to civilian rule, Musharraf suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament. He formed the National Security Council, made up of civilian and military appointees, to run Pakistan in the interim. In early 2001 he assumed the presidency and later attempted to negotiate an agreement with India over the Kashmir region. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the United States and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan later that year, the U.S. government cultivated close ties with Musharraf in an attempt to root out Islamic extremists in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
Over the next several years, Musharraf survived a number of assassination attempts. He reinstated the constitution in 2002, though it was heavily amended with the Legal Framework Order (LFO)—a provision of which extended his term as president for another five years. Parliamentary elections were held in October 2002, and in late 2003 the legislature ratified most provisions of the LFO.
In 2007 Musharraf sought reelection to the presidency, but he faced opposition from Pakistan’s Supreme Court, primarily over the issue of his continuing to serve simultaneously as both president and head of the military. The court thwarted his attempt to suspend the chief justice, and in October it delayed the results of Musharraf’s reelection (by the parliament). In November Musharraf responded by declaring a state of emergency. Citing growing terrorist threats, he suspended the constitution for a second time, dismissed the chief justice and replaced other justices on the Supreme Court, arrested opposition political leaders, and imposed restrictions on the independent press and media. Later that month the reconstituted Supreme Court dismissed the last legal challenges to his reelection, and he resigned his military post to become a civilian president. Musharraf ended the state of emergency in mid-December, though, before restoring the constitution, he instituted several amendments to it that protected the measures enacted during emergency rule.
The poor performance of Musharraf’s party in the February 2008 parliamentary elections was widely seen as a rejection of the president and his rule. The elections yielded an opposition coalition headed by Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of former prime ministerBenazir Bhutto, who had been assassinated in December 2007. Citing grave constitutional violations, the governing coalition moved in early August 2008 to begin impeachment proceedings against Musharraf, and, faced with the impending charges, Musharraf announced his resignation on August 18.
In October 2010, after a period of self-imposed exile, Musharraf announced the formation of a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, and vowed to return to Pakistan in time for the 2013 national elections. He did so in March 2013, but his bid to stand in elections faced a variety of legal and political obstacles, including several open criminal investigations regarding his actions as president. On April 18 a Pakistani court disqualified him from entering the race because of an ongoing investigation regarding his suspension of the constitution in 2007. He was arrested the following day to face charges stemming from the investigation. In August 2013, with Musharraf still under house arrest, murder charges were filed against him in connection with Bhutto’s assassination in 2007.