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Pakistan’s Government: A Brief Profile

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Pakistan’s Government: A Brief Profile

On May 13, 2019, Posted by , In Information Reports,Maria Cano,Pakistan, With Comments Off on Pakistan’s Government: A Brief Profile
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By Maria Cano

Government of Pakistan: Information Report

            In 2013, Pakistan saw its first peaceful democratic transition of power.[1] The country has seen multiple changes in government since gaining its independence in 1947. Its first constitution, passed in 1956, was suspended only two years later by Ayub Khan.[2] In 1969, Khan handed over his authoritarian regime to Yahya Khan, who immediately declared martial law and ruled until 1971.[3] In 1977, Muhammad Zia-ul-haq staged a coup overthrowing Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[4] Zia ruled until 1988.[5] Another military coup was staged in 1998, this time by Pervez Musharraf who resigned in 2008.[6]

            Today Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic.[7],[8] Its executive branch is made up of President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, the latter of whom is in charge of both domestic and foreign policy.[9],[10] The nation’s Parliament is composed of the Senate and National Assembly.[11] The Senate consists of 104 members who serve six-year terms, with half of the members being replaced or renewed every three years.[12] The 342 members of the National Assembly serve five-year terms.[13]

            Pakistan’s court system can be divided into the superior judiciary and the subordinate judiciary. The first of these consists of the Supreme Court, the Federal Shariat Court, and the Five High Courts.[14] The Supreme Court of Pakistan consists of a chief justice and sixteen additional judges.[15] These judges are appointed by the president and can serve until the age of sixty-five.[16],[17] The subordinate judiciary is composed of civil and criminal courts as well as other specialized courts that focus on taxes, banking, customs, and other matters.[18]

            Elections tend to be dominated by three political parties. The Pakistan Muslim League (PML), a center-right conservative party is led by Shebaz Sharif.[19] Bilwal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari jointly lead the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) which is center-left socialist.[20] Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), a centrist party is currently in power, having both Arif Alvi and Imran Khan as members as well as having a majority in the Senate and National Assembly.[21],[22]

            Corruption continues to pose a significant challenge for the Pakistani government in areas such as the judiciary, police, and taxation.[23] In recent years the country has seen some improvement, but its Transparency International score has remained at 117 since 2017.[24],[25]

People of interest:

  • Arif Alvi – President
  • Imran Khan – Prime Minister and head of PTI
  • Shehbaz Sharif – president of PML-N
  • Bilwal Bhutto Zardari – co-chair of PPP
  • Asif Ali Zardari – co-chair of PPP
  • Zubair Mahmood Hayat – Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee
  • Qamalr Javed Bajwa – Chief of Army Staff
  • Zafar Mahmood Abbasi – Chief of Naval Staff
  • Mujahid Anwar Khan – Chief of Air Staff
  • Asim Munir –  Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence

Works Cited.

“Arif Alvi.” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Accessed May 10, 2019.             https://www.insaf.pk/public/insafpk/leadership/arif-alvi.

“Ayub Khan (President of Pakistan).” Wikipedia. Last modified May 8, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayub_Khan_(President_of_Pakistan).

Bhatti, Haseeb. “Nawaz Sharif Removed as PML-N Head After SC Rules Disqualified Person Cannot Lead a Party.” Dawn. February 21, 2018. https://www.dawn.com/news/1390816/person-disqualified-under-articles-62-63-ineligible-to-head-political-party-sc-rules.

Bhutto, Zulfikar A. If I am Assassinated. Lahore: PPP, 1979.

“Bhutto’s Son, Husband to be Co-leaders of Party.” Reuters. December 30, 2007. https://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-31174520071230.

“Corruption in Pakistan.” Wikipedia. Last modified April 26, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Pakistan.

“Historic Election Marks Transition in Pakistan.” Public Radio International, May 14, 2013. https://www.pri.org/stories/2013-05-14/historic-election-marks-transition-pakistan.

Hussain, Faqir. The Judicial System of Pakistan. Islamabad: Federal Judiciary Academy, 2015. http://supremecourt.gov.pk/web/user_files/File/thejudicialsystemofPakistan.pdf.

“Index 2018.” Transparency International. Accessed May 7, 2019.             https://www.transparency.org/cpi2018.

“Leadership.” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Accessed May 10, 2019.             https://www.insaf.pk/public/insafpk/leadership.

“Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq.” EncyclopediaBritannica. Accessed May 10, 2019.   https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mohammad-Zia-ul-Haq.

“National Assembly of Pakistan.” Wikipedia. Last modified April 29, 2019. Accessed May 5,           2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Assembly_of_Pakistan.

“Pakistan.” Wikipedia. Last modified May 5, 2019. Accessed May 5, 2019.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan.

“Pakistan Country Profile.” BBC. Last modified February 18, 2019. Accessed May 4, 2019.           https://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12965779.

“Pakistan Judges Refuse Oath Demanded by Pakistan’s Rulers.” Waycross Journal-Herald.     January 31, 2000.

“South Asia: Pakistan.” Central Intelligence Agency. Last modified May 1, 2019. Accessed                   May 4, 2019. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html.

“Supreme Court of Pakistan.” Wikipedia, Last modified May 5, 2019.                                                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_Pakistan#cite_note-            Simon_and_Schuster,_Ali-2.

“The Constitution of Pakistan.” Pakistani.Org.Accessed May 10, 2019.             http://pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part1.html.


[1] “Historic Election Marks Transition in Pakistan,” Public Radio International, May 14, 2013, https://www.pri.org/stories/2013-05-14/historic-election-marks-transition-pakistan.

[2] “Pakistan,” Wikipedia, last modified May 5, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan.

[3] “Ayub Khan (President of Pakistan),” Wikipedia, last modified May 8, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayub_Khan_(President_of_Pakistan).

[4] Zulfikar A. Bhutto, If I am Assassinated (Lahore: PPP, 1979), 6.

[5] “Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq,” Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed May 10, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mohammad-Zia-ul-Haq.

[6] “Pakistan Judges Refuse Oath Demanded by Pakistan’s Rulers,” Waycross Journal-Herald, January 31, 2000, 15.

[7] “The Constitution of Pakistan,” Pakistani.Org,accessed May 10, 2019, http://pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part1.html.

[8] “South Asia: Pakistan,” Central Intelligence Agency, last modified May 1, 2019. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Wikipedia, “Pakistan.”

[11] Central Intelligence Agency, “South Asia: Pakistan.”

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Faqir Hussain. The Judicial System of Pakistan, (Islamabad: Federal Judiciary Academy, 2015), 9-13, http://supremecourt.gov.pk/web/user_files/File/thejudicialsystemofPakistan.pdf.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Supreme Court of Pakistan,” Wikipedia, last modified May 5, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_Pakistan#cite_note-Simon_and_Schuster,_Ali-2.

[18] Central Intelligence Agency, “South Asia: Pakistan.”

[19] Haseeb Bhatti, “Nawaz Sharif Removed as PML-N Head After SC Rules Disqualified Person Cannot Lead a Party,” Dawn, February 21, 2018, https://www.dawn.com/news/1390816/person-disqualified-under-articles-62-63-ineligible-to-head-political-party-sc-rules.

[20] “Bhutto’s Son, Husband to be Co-leaders of Party,” Reuters, December 30, 2007, https://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-31174520071230.

[21] “Leadership,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, https://www.insaf.pk/public/insafpk/leadership.

[22] “Arif Alvi,” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, https://www.insaf.pk/public/insafpk/leadership/arif-alvi.

[23] “Corruption in Pakistan,” Wikipedia, last modified April 26, 2019,               https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_Pakistan.

[24] Ibid.

[25] “Index 2018,” Transparency International, https://www.transparency.org/cpi2018.

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