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Pakistan Main Page

 

Government

Pakistan was created entirely through a democratic and constitutional struggle. Islam is the anchor-sheet of Pakistan and democracy is ingrained deep into the Muslim psyche. Islam permits no "hero worship". Pakistan's record of parliamentary democracy may be checkered but its return to this form after each pause and break more than vindicates the fact that democratic traditions are deep-rooted in Pakistan's policy.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides for a Federal Parliamentary System of government, with President as the Head of State and the popularly elected Prime Minister as Head of government. The Federal Legislature is a bicameral Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), composed of the National Assembly and the Senate. The Constitution also provides for the President to address the two Houses assembled together at the commencement of the first session after General Elections.


Pervez Musharraf has been chief of state since June 20, 2001. A prolonged confrontation over authority between Parliament and the President ended in December 2002 with a compromise which permitted passage of the Legal Framework Order (LFO) of 2002, under the terms of which President Musharraf made his pledge to resign his military position as Commander-in-Chief in late 2004. In 2004 General Musharraf announced that he would retain his military role.

The Pakistan Constitution of 1973, amended substantially in 1985 under Zia ul-Haq, was suspended by the military government in October 1999. It was restored on December 31, 2002. Selected provisions of the Constitution pertaining to changes that President Musharraf made while the Constitution was suspended remain contested by political opponents.

The president is chosen for a five-year term by an electoral college consisting of the Senate, National Assembly, and the provincial assemblies. The prime minister is selected by the National Assembly for a four-year term. The bicameral parliament--or Majlis-e-Shoora--consists of the Senate (100 seats; members are indirectly elected by provincial assemblies to serve four-year terms) and the National Assembly (342 seats; 60 seats reserved for women, 10 seats reserved for minorities; members elected by popular vote serve four-year terms). Each of the four provinces--Punjab, Sindh, Northwest Frontier, and Balochistan--has a Chief Minister and provincial assembly. The Northern Areas, Azad Kashmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are administered by the federal government but enjoy considerable autonomy. The cabinet, National Security Council, and governors serve at the president's discretion.

The judicial system comprises a Supreme Court, provincial high courts, and Federal Islamic (or Shari'a) Court. The Supreme Court is Pakistan's highest court. The president appoints the chief justice and they together determine the other judicial appointments. Each province has a high court, the justices of which are appointed by the president after conferring with the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the provincial chief justice. The judiciary is proscribed from issuing any order contrary to the decisions of the President. Federal Sharia Court hears cases that primarily involve Sharia, or Islamic law. Legislation enacted in 1991 gave legal status to Sharia. Although Sharia was declared the law of the land, it did not replace the existing legal code.

The Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) are national political parties, while the Muttahid Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)--an umbrella group of six religious parties, including the Jamaat-il-Islami--gained significant influence during the 2002 election. After those elections, the Pakistani political system remained highly fragmented, with no group winning a substantial majority of seats in the national assembly, and religious groups banding together in the MMA to earn a significant portion of seats for the first time.

According to the constitution, Pakistan is a federation of four provinces: Baluchistan, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab, and Sindh. Governors appointed by the president head the provinces. There is also the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the Islamabad Capital Territory, which consists of the capital city of Islamabad. These areas and territory are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The Northern Areas are administered as a de facto "Union Territory" and are treated as an integral part of Pakistan. The Pakistani-administered portion of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region includes Azad Kashmir, a separate and autonomous government that maintains strong ties to Pakistan.

Principal Government Officials
President--Pervez Musharraf
Prime Minister (head of government)--Shaukat Aziz
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Khurshid Kasuri
Ambassador to the U.S.--Jehangir Karamat
Ambassador to the UN--Munir Akram

Pakistan maintains an embassy in the United States in Washington, DC and it has consulates in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Houston.

National Security

Pakistan has the world's eighth-largest armed forces, which is generally well trained and disciplined. However, budget constraints and nation-building duties have reduced Pakistan's training tempo, which if not reversed, could affect the operational readiness of the armed forces. Likewise, Pakistan has had an increasingly difficult time maintaining their aging fleet of U.S., Chinese, U.K., and French equipment. While industrial capabilities have expanded significantly, limited budget resources and sanctions have significantly constrained the government's efforts to modernize its armed forces.

Until 1990, the United States provided military aid to Pakistan to modernize its conventional defensive capability. The United States allocated about 40% of its assistance package to non-reimbursable credits for military purchases, the third-largest program behind Israel and Egypt. The remainder of the aid program was devoted to economic assistance. Sanctions put in place in 1990 denied Pakistan further military assistance due to the discovery of its program to develop nuclear weapons. Sanctions were tightened following Pakistan's nuclear tests in response to India's May 1998 tests and the military coup of 1999. Pakistan has remained a non-signatory of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty. The events of September 11, 2001, and Pakistan's agreement to support the United States led to a waiving of the sanctions, and military assistance resumed to provide spare parts and equipment to enhance Pakistan's capacity to police its western border and address its legitimate security concerns. In 2003, President Bush announced that the United States would provide Pakistan with $3 billion in economic and military aid over 5 years. This assistance package commenced during FY 2005.

Government ::Pakistan CIA facts

Country name:
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
conventional short form: Pakistan
local long form: Jamhuryat Islami Pakistan
local short form: Pakistan
former: West Pakistan
Government type:
federal republic
Capital:
name: Islamabad
geographic coordinates: 33 42 N, 73 10 E
time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
4 provinces, 1 territory*, and 1 capital territory**; Balochistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas*, Islamabad Capital Territory**, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province), Punjab, Sindh
note: the Pakistani-administered portion of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region consists of two administrative entities: Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan
Independence:
14 August 1947 (from British India)
National holiday:
Republic Day, 23 March (1956)
Constitution:
12 April 1973; suspended 5 July 1977, restored 30 December 1985; suspended 15 October 1999, restored in stages in 2002; amended 31 December 2003; suspended 3 November 2007; restored on 15 December 2007; amended 19 April 2010
Legal system:
based on English common law with provisions to accommodate Pakistan's status as an Islamic state; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal; joint electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for women and non-Muslims
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Asif Ali ZARDARI (since 9 September 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza GILANI (since 25 March 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president upon the advice of the prime minister
elections: the president elected by secret ballot through an Electoral College comprising the members of the Senate, National Assembly, and the provincial assemblies for a five-year term; election last held on 6 September 2008 (next to be held not later than 2013); note - any person who is a Muslim and not less than 45 years of age and is qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly can contest the presidential election; the prime minister selected by the National Assembly; election last held on 24 March 2008
election results: Asif Ali ZARDARI elected president; ZARDARI 481 votes, SIDDIQUE 153 votes, SYED 44 votes; Syed Yousuf Raza GILANI elected prime minister; GILANI 264 votes, Pervaiz ELAHI 42 votes; several abstentions
Legislative branch:
bicameral parliament or Majlis-e-Shoora consists of the Senate (100 seats; members indirectly elected by provincial assemblies and the territories' representatives in the National Assembly to serve six-year terms; one half are elected every three years) and the National Assembly (342 seats; 272 members elected by popular vote; 60 seats reserved for women; 10 seats reserved for non-Muslims; members serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 3 March 2009 (next to be held in March 2012); National Assembly - last held on 18 February 2008 with by-elections on 26 June 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPPP 27, PML-Q 21, MMA 9, PML-N 7, ANP 6, MQM 6, JUI-F 4, BNP-A 2, JWP 1, NPP 1, PKMAP 1, PML-F 1, PPP 1, independents 13; National Assembly - percent of votes by party - NA; seats by party as of October 2010 - PPPP 127, PML-N 90, PML 51, MQM 25, ANP 13, JUI-F 8, PML-F 5, BNP-A 1, NPP 1, PPP-S 1, independents 18, unfilled seats - 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (justices appointed by the president); Federal Islamic or Sharia Court
Political parties and leaders:
Awami National Party or ANP [Asfandyar Wali KHAN]; Balochistan National Party-Awami or BNP-A [Moheem Khan BALOCH]; Balochistan National Party-Hayee Group or BNP-H [Dr. Hayee BALOCH]; Balochistan National Party-Mengal or BNP-M [Sardar Ataullah MENGAL]; Jamaat-i Islami or JI [Syed Munawar HASAN]; Jamhoori Watan Party or JWP; Jamiat Ahle Hadith or JAH [Sajid MIR]; Jamiat Ulema-i Islam Fazl-ur Rehman or JUI-F [Fazl-ur REHMAN]; Jamiat Ulema-i Islam Sami-ul HAQ or JUI-S [Sami ul-HAQ]; Jamiat Ulema-i Pakistan or JUP [Shah Faridul HAQ]; Muttahida Majlis-e Amal or MMA [Qazi Hussain AHMED]; Muttahida Qaumi Movement or MQM [Altaf HUSSAIN]; National Alliance or NA [Ghulam Mustapha JATOI] (merged with PML); National Peoples Party or NPP; Pakhtun Khwa Milli Awami Party or PKMAP [Mahmood Khan ACHAKZAI]; Pakistan Awami Tehrik or PAT [Tahir ul QADRI]; Pakistan Muslim League or PML [Chaudhry Shujaat HUSSAIN]; Pakistan Muslim League-Functional or PML-F [Pir PAGARO]; Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N [Nawaz SHARIF]; Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians or PPPP [Bilawal Bhutto ZARDARI, chairman; Asif Ali ZARDARI, co-chairman]; Pakistan Peoples Party-SHERPAO or PPP-S [Aftab Ahmed Khan SHERPAO]; Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf or PTI [Imran KHAN]; Tehrik-i Islami [Allama Sajid NAQVI]
note: political alliances in Pakistan can shift frequently
Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: military (most important political force); ulema (clergy); landowners; industrialists; small merchants
International organization participation:
ADB, ARF, C, CICA, CP, D-8, ECO, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, SCO (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Husain HAQQANI
chancery: 3517 International Court, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 243-6500
FAX: [1] (202) 686-1544
consulate(s) general: Boston (Honorary Consulate General), Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York
consulate(s): Chicago, Houston
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Cameron MUNTER
embassy: Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad
mailing address: P. O. Box 1048, Unit 62200, APO AE 09812-2200
telephone: [92] (51) 208-0000
FAX: [92] (51) 2276427
consulate(s) general: Karachi
consulate(s): Lahore, Peshawar
Flag description:
green with a vertical white band (symbolizing the role of religious minorities) on the hoist side; a large white crescent and star are centered in the green field; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam
National anthem:
name: "Qaumi Tarana" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Abu-Al-Asar Hafeez JULLANDHURI/Ahmed Ghulamali CHAGLA
note: adopted 1954; the anthem is also known as "Pak sarzamin shad bad" (Blessed Be the Sacred Land)

 


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