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Humshehri: Thinking Pakistan's History

Thinking Pakistan's History

Government Parts and Functions

In line with the notion of separation of powers, the federal government is divided into three main organs: legislature, executive and judiciary.

Last Updated: 27 Nov. 2014

Introduction

The 1973 Constitution declares Pakistan a Federal Republic comprising four provinces (Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh), Islamabad Capital Territory, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and such states and territories as are or may be included in Pakistan by accession or otherwise.

In line with the notion of separation of powers, the federal government is divided into three main organs: legislature, executive and judiciary. Each organ is assigned specific powers and functions. In short, the legislature bears the responsibility of making laws that the executive implements and the judiciary interprets.

Legislature

Government Parts and Functions 1
Parliament House Pakistan
(The News)

The Legislature, or the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) as referred to by the constitution, is the supreme, federal, legislative body in the country. It consists of the President and two Houses known as the National Assembly and the Senate. This is a bi-cameral structure comprising a lower house and an upper house:

  • National Assembly: This is the Lower House with directly elected members
  • Senate: This is the Upper House with indirectly elected members

Following the 18th Amendment (2010), Pakistan has been restored to a parliamentary democracy through revocation of excessive powers granted to the President under previous amendments. Consequently, real power vests in the Prime Minister as opposed to the President.

Executive

The executive authority of the Federation is exercised by the Prime Minister and the Federal Ministers acting in the name of the President. In this parliamentary system, the President is the ceremonial figurehead since real authority vests in the Prime Minister who is the Chief Executive of the State.

First, the Prime Minister is elected through majority voting in the popularly elected National Assembly, who then advises the President on the appointment of Cabinet Ministers or Federal Ministers and Ministers of State from the Parliament to assist the Prime Minister in running government operations.

Judiciary

Government Parts and Functions 2
Supreme Court Pakistan
(Khalid Mahmood)

On independence, Pakistan largely retained the pre-independence British Court structure, albeit necessary modifications and improvements. Broadly, this court structure comprises of the following:

Superior Courts

  • Supreme Court
  • High Court
  • Federal Shariat Court

Subordinate Courts

  • Civil and Criminal Courts
  • Special Courts and Tribunals

Primary sources

Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973


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