Democracy (Urdu: جمہوریت; pronounced jamhooriat) is one of the ideologies and systems upon which Pakistan was sought to be established in 1947 as a nation-state, as envisaged by the leader and founding father of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan constitutionally is a democratic parliamentary republic with its political system based on an elected form of governance. However, in past history there have been deviations from democracy in the form of military coups and political uncertainty. Today Pakistan is the one of the newest functioning democracies since 2008, with the first democratic elections held in 2013 to complete a 5 year term for the first time in its political history. As of current status,[when?] Pakistan is also the 5th largest and is also the largest Majoritarian democracy and (non-liberal) in the world and perhaps considered as the world's largest Islamic democracy within the Muslim world as opposed to a modern liberal democracy, such as modern Republic of Turkey, with its western orientated values.
The Original Concept of Democracy in the World And Also in the Asian Continent has historical root in the Indus Valley Civilisation, which thrived in modern-day Pakistan.
It was one of the earliest and largest ancient human civilisations alongside Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley, Anatolia and ancient China, known for its highly developed, sophisticated and urbanised culture and much later also old Greece which had some form of democratic rule.
Historians and social scientists studying the civilisation's social structure observe that the Indus Valley had an organised planning system, including standard architecture, civic controls, consistent grid layouts and uniformed sanitary facilities. This well-disciplined lifestyle and a common Rule of Law extending throughout a large area leads some historians to believe and suggest the Indus Valley civilisation in Pakistan as possibly the earliest cradle and model of democracy; one which was based on a "popular rule by the people" based on the conceptions of Welfare State and Rule of law (and hence the presence of some form of Democracy) which even predated old Greece.
Democracy failed exceptionally quickly after independence because Pakistan possessed a weak and fragmented political party that was unable to resolve key governing conflicts. In the wake of intensifying political instability, the civilian bureaucracy and military assumed governing power in 1958. Since its independence, Pakistan's democratic system has fluctuated between civilian and military governments at various times throughout its political history, mainly due to political instability, civil-military conflicts, political corruption, and the periodic coup d'états by the military establishment against weak civilian governments, resulting in the enforcement of martial law across the country (occurring in 1958, 1977 and 1999, and led by chief martial law administrator-generals Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf respectively). Democracy in Pakistan, however imperfect, has been allowed to function to varyin degrees. Until 2013, Pakistan did not experience even one democratic transfer of power from one democratically elected government that had completed its tenure to another. All of its previous democratic transitions have been aborted by military coup . Should the 2018 elections see success it will be the longest period for which Pakistan has stayed a democracy without witnessing a military coup.
- ^Pakistan, ruled by the military for half of its 66-year life, has taken steps toward democracy, but the process is far from complete.https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/opinion/international/an-incomplete-democracy.html?_r=0
- ^Trofimov, Yaroslav (10 May 2013). "Democracy Is on Ballot in Pakistan". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- ^Ahmad, Saeed. "Pakistan's Next Leader Vows Better U.S. Ties". WSJ. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- ^The Indus Valley civilization – cradle of democracy?
- ^Did Democracy Begin in the Indus Valley?
- ^Tudor, Maya. "The Promise of Power: The Origins of Democracy in India and Autocracy in Pakistan." (Cambridge University Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1-107-03296-5). Chapter 5.
- ^Afzal, Azeem. "Democracy in Pakistan". Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- ^Aqil Shah, The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan |(Harvard University Press, 2014), p. 1. ISBN 9780674728936
"GoP" redirects here. For other uses, see GOP (disambiguation).
The Government of Pakistan (Urdu: حکومتِ پاکستان) is a federal government established by the Constitution of Pakistan as a constituted governing authority of the five provinces of a proclaimed and established parliamentary democraticrepublic, constitutionally called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Effecting the Westminster system for governing the state, the government is mainly composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, in which all powers are vested by the Constitution in the Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts and amendments of the Parliament, including the creation of executive institutions, departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court. By constitutional powers, the President promulgates ordinances and passes bills. The President acts as the ceremonial figurehead while the people-electedPrime Minister acts as the chief executive (of the executive branch) and is responsible for running the federal government. There is a bicameral Parliament with the National Assembly as a lower house and the Senate as an upper house. The judicial branch systematically contains an apex Supreme Court, high courts of five provinces, district, anti-terrorism, Sharia, and the green courts; all inferior to the Supreme Court.
The full name of the country is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. No other name appears in the Constitution, and this is the name that appears on money, in treaties, and in legal cases. The "Pakistan Government" or "Government of Pakistan" are often used in official documents representing the federal government collectively. Also, the terms "Federal" and "National" in government institutions or program names generally indicate affiliation with the federal government. Because the seat of government is in Islamabad, "Islamabad" is commonly used as a metonym for the federal government.
Federal law and Constitution
The Constitution of Pakistan established and constituted the federal government of four provinces of federation of nation-state, known as State of Pakistan. The Constitution reads as:
The Federal Government is 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.
In the performance of his functions under the Constitution, the Prime Minister may act either directly or through the (Federal) Ministers.
— Constitution of Pakistan: Part III: The Federation of Pakistan— Chapter 3: The Federal Government, Article 196–197, source
The basic civil and criminal laws governing the citizens of Pakistan are set down in major parliamentary legislation (a term inherited from theUnited Kingdom), such as the Exit Control List, the Pakistan Penal Code, and the Frontier Crimes Regulations. By the Article 246th and Article 247th to the constitution, the Islamic Jirga (or Panchayat) system has become an institution for local governance. The 1950s reforms in the government administration, the constitutional law and jurisprudence in Pakistan have been greatly influenced by the United States Of America ' legal system. Since the 1970s, the traditional jirga-based law has also influenced the country's judicial development.
Branches of government
Main article: Parliament of Pakistan
The legislative branch is known as the parliament, a term for legislature inherited from the United Kingdom. The parliament has two houses;
- The National Assembly is the lower house and has 342 members. 272 are elected directly by the people, while 70 seats are reserved for women and religious minorities.
- The Senate is the upper house and has 104 senators elected indirectly by members of provincial assemblies for six-year terms.
The Parliament enjoys parliamentary supremacy. All the Cabinet ministers as well as the Prime Minister must be members of Parliament (MPs), according to the constitution. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers are jointly accountable to the Parliament. If there is a policy failure or lapse on the part of the government, all the members of the cabinet are jointly responsible. If a vote of no confidence is passed against the government, then the government collapses and a new one must be formed.
By general definition, the executive branch of government is the one that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the republican idea of the separation of powers. The separation of powers system is designed to distribute authority away from the executive branch – an attempt to preserve individual liberty in response to tyrannical leadership throughout history.
Prime Minister and Cabinet
The Prime Minister of Pakistan (Urdu: وزيراعظم; lit: 'Wazir-e- Azam), is the executive head of government of Pakistan, constitutionally designated as the Chief Executive (CE). Popularly elected by direct elections in the parliament, the Prime minister is responsible for appointing a cabinet as well as running the government operations.
The Prime Minister duly appoints the directors, executives, chairmen in almost all state institutions and corporations, including;
- Key administrative and military personnel in the Pakistan Armed Forces.
- The Chairmen and other Members of the federal commissions and public institutions.
- Ambassadors and High Commissioners to other countries.
- The cabinet secretaries and directors in the administrative positions of the government.
The Cabinet can have a maximum of 11 percent (50 members including the Prime Minister) of the total strength of the Parliament. Each Cabinet member must be a member of Parliament (MP). The Cabinet Ministers chair the Cabinet and are further assisted by the Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan, whose appointment comes from the Civil Services of Pakistan. Other Ministers are Ministers of State, junior members who report directly to one of the Cabinet Ministers, often overseeing a specific aspect of government.
Once appointed by the Prime Minister, all Cabinet Ministers are officially confirmed to their appointment offices by the President in a special oath of ceremony.
Main article: Pakistani presidency
The President of Pakistan is a ceremonial figurehead, a ceremonial head of state representing the unity of the country.
Elected for a five-year term by an indirect election, the electoral college consisting of members of the Senate, National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies, the president is eligible for reelection. However no individual may hold the office for more than two consecutive terms. The president may resign or be impeached and removed from office for incapacity or gross misconduct by a two-thirds vote of the members of the parliament.
The President enjoys all constitutional powers and exercises them directly or through officers subordinate to him as per the aforesaid Article 41-Article 47.
The President is responsible for making a wide variety of appointments.
The President, as Head of State also receives the credentials of Ambassadors from other countries, whilst the Prime Minister, as Head of Government, receives credentials of High Commissioners from other members of the Commonwealth, in line with historical tradition.
The President is the civilian Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces.
The President of Pakistan can grant a pardon to or reduce the sentence, reprieve and respite, and remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority, particularly in cases involving a death sentence. The decisions involving pardoning and other rights by the President are independent of the opinion of the Prime Minister or the Parliamentary majority. In most other cases, however, the President exercises his or her executive powers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Main article: Supreme Court of Pakistan
Pakistan's independent judicial system began under the British Raj, and its concepts and procedures resemble those of Anglo-Saxon countries. Institutional and judicial procedures were later changed, in 1950s, under the influence of American legal system to remove the fundamental rights problems. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Provincial High Courts, District Courts, Anti-terrorism courts, Sharia courts, and Environmental courts all over the country; Supreme Court being the superior court. The Supreme Court of Pakistan consists of a Chief Justice, and Senior Justices appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The Constitution does not fix the number of justices of the Supreme Court, though it can be fixed by Parliament through an act signed by the President.
The Constitution grants powers to the Supreme Court to make judicature transfers. Although the proceedings in the Supreme Court arise out of the judgement or orders made by the subordinate courts, the Supreme Court reserves the right to transfer any case, appeal or proceedings pending before any High Court to any other High Court.
Supreme Judicial Council
Misconduct of judges is highly intolerable as is mentioned in the constitution. Under the mainframe of the Supreme Judicial CouncilArticle 209 an inquiry into the capacity or conduct of a Judge, who is a member of the Council, may be conducted.
Main articles: Pakistan Administrative Service and Central Superior Services of Pakistan
The civil service of Pakistan is a permanent bureaucracy of the Government of Pakistan. The civil servants are the permanent officials of the government, occupying a respected image in the civil society. Civil servants come from different departments (e.g. Pakistan Administrative Service, Police Service of Pakistan etc.) Not all the employees of the Government of Pakistan are civil servants; other employees of the Government of Pakistan come from the scientific institutions, state-owned corporations and commissioned military science circles.
In the parliamentary democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the elected representatives of the people which are the ministers. These ministers are accountable to the legislatures which are also elected by the people on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The cabinet and its ministers are expected to lay down the policy guidelines, and the civil servants are the responsible in implementing and enforcing it.
Main article: Federal Secretary
The federal secretaries are the most senior, experienced, and capable officials in the country. Each ministry/division has its Secretary to oversee and enforce the public policy matters. The secretaries, who are basic pay scale (BPS)-22 grade officers, are largely considered to be the most powerful officials in the country; especially the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan and Establishment Secretary of Pakistan who work in close coordination with the Prime Minister.
Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordination of activities of the various Ministries in such situations are the functions of the Cabinet Division. Appointment for the chairman of the FPSC, the prestigious body responsible for the recruitment of elite bureaucrats, is made by the President after consulting the Prime Minister, according to Article 242 of the Constitution.
Elections and voting system
Main articles: Politics of Pakistan, Military coups in Pakistan, and Elections in Pakistan
Since 1947, Pakistan has an asymmetric federal government, with elected officials at the national (federal), provincial, tribal, and local levels. Constitution has set the limit of government for five years, but if a Vote of no confidence movements takes place in the parliament (and prelude of movements are proved at the Judicial branch), the government falls and immediately replaced with caretaker government initiated by the president (consultation of Prime Minister also required to make such move), in regards to Article 58 of the constitution.
There has been four times that the martial law has been in effect, and controversially approved by the supreme court. Through a general election where the leader of the majority winning party is selected to be the Prime Minister. All members of the federal legislature, the Parliament, are directly elected. Elections in Pakistan take place every five years by universal adult suffrage.
Administration and governments
Provincial, Tribal, and Local governments
Main articles: Provincial Governments of Pakistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Local government in Pakistan, and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas
There are four provincial governments that rule the four provinces of the state; the Chief Minister heads the state government. All provincial assemblies are unicameral, elected for five years. The Governors appointed by President after consulting the Prime minister, act only as representatives of federal government in the province and do not have any part in running the government.
The provincial governments tend to have the greatest influence over most Pakistanis' daily lives. The tribal and Local government functions at the basic level. It is the third level of government, consisting Jirga in rural tribal areas.
Main articles: State Bank of Pakistan, National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Remittance Initiative, and Tax on cash withdrawal
Taxation and budget
Main articles: Taxation in Pakistan, 2014 Pakistan federal budget, and Foreign trade of Pakistan
Pakistan has a complex taxation system of more than 70 unique taxes administered by at least 37 tax collection institutions of the Government of Pakistan. Taxation is a debated and controversial issue in public and political science circle of the country, and according to the International Development Committee, Pakistan had a lower-than-average tax take. Only 0.57% of Pakistanis, or 768,000 people out of a population of 190 million pay income tax.
The Finance Minister of Pakistan presents the annual federal budget in the Parliament in the midst of the year, and it has to be passed by the both houses of the Parliament. The budget is preceded by an economic survey which outlines the broad direction of the budget and the economic performance of the country for the outgoing financial fiscal year.
NFC program overview
Main article: NFC award
Constituted under the Article 160 of the Constitution by the Constitution, the National Finance Commission Award (NFC) program is a series of planned economic programs to take control of financial imbalances and equally manage the financial resources for the four provinces to meet their expenditure liabilities while alleviating the horizontal fiscal imbalances.
According to stipulations and directions of the Constitution, the provisional governments and Federal government compete to get higher share of the program's revenues in order to stabilize their own financial status.
Main article: Corruption in Pakistan
The corruption is on-going issue in the government, claiming to take initiatives against it, particularly in the government and lower levels of police forces. In 2011, the country has had a consistently poor ranking at the Transparency International'sCorruption Perceptions Index with scores of 2.5, 2.3 in 2010, and 2.5 in 2009 out of 10. In 2011, Pakistan ranked 134 on the index with 42 countries ranking worse. In 2012, Pakistan's ranking dropped even further from 134 to 139, making Pakistan the 34th most corrupt country in the world, tied with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal, and Nigeria.
Circular debt and spending priorities
Main article: Federal Board of Revenue (Pakistan)
Since before the collapse of the USSR in 1991, progressive economic liberalization has been carried out by the government both at the provincial and the national level. Pakistan has achieved FDI of almost $8.4 billion in the financial fiscal year of 2006–07, surpassing the government target of $4 billion. Despite this milestone achievement, the Foreign investment had significantly declined by 2010, dropping by ~54.6% due to Pakistan's military operations, financial crises, law and order situation in Karachi, according to the Bank of Pakistan. From the 2006 estimate, the Government expenditures were ~$25 billion.
Funding in science and education has been a primary policy of the Government of Pakistan, since 1947. Moreover, English is fast spreading in Pakistan, with 18 million Pakistanis (11% of the population) having a command over the English language, which makes it the 3rd Largest English Speaking Nation in the world and the 2nd largest in Asia. On top of that, Pakistan produces about 445,000 university graduates and 10,000 computer science graduates per year. Despite these statistics, Pakistan still has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world and the second largest out of school population (5.1 million children) after Nigeria.
Debts and deficit
Main articles: Foreign aid to Pakistan and Periods of Stagflation
As per the CIA World Factbook, in 2010, Pakistan ranks 63rd in the world, with respect to the public external debt to various international monetary authorities (owning ~$55.98 billion in 2010), with a total of 60.1% of GDP.
Since 2009, Pakistan has been trying to negotiate debt cancellation currently Pakistan spends $3 billion on debt servicing annually to largely western nations and the International Monetary Fund.
Ministries and divisions
Main article: Cabinet of Pakistan
Main article: List of federal agencies of Pakistan