Government of Pakistan

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Government of Pakistan
حکومتِ پاکستان
Coat of arms of Pakistan.svg
Flag of Pakistan.svg
Type Federal government
FormationAugust 14, 1973;46 years ago (1973-08-14)
Formation document Constitution of Pakistan
Country Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Seat of government Islamabad
English, Urdu
Legislature Parliament
Upper house Senate
Chairman of the Senate Sadiq Sanjrani
Lower house National Assembly
Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser
Meeting place Parliament House
Head of state President (Arif Alvi)
Head of government Prime Minister (Imran Khan)
Main organ Cabinet
Meeting place Cabinet secretariat
Ministries 30 (25 Federal Ministers, 5 Ministers of state and 5 advisors)
Responsible to National Assembly
Court Supreme Court of Pakistan
Chief judge Chief Justice (Gulzar Ahmed)

The Government of Pakistan (Urdu : حکومتِ پاکستان) abbreviated as GoP, is a federal government established by the Constitution of Pakistan as a constituted governing authority of the four provinces two autonomous territories and one federal territory of a parliamentary democratic republic, constitutionally called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. [1]


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. [2] 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. [2] By constitutional powers, the President promulgates ordinances and passes bills.

The President acts as the ceremonial figurehead while the people-elected Prime 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 most influential officials in the Government of Pakistan are considered to be the federal secretaries, who are the highest ranking bureaucrats in the country and run cabinet-level ministries and divisions. The judicial branch systematically contains an apex Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court, high courts of five provinces, district, anti-terrorism, and the green courts; all inferior to the Supreme Court. [2]

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. [2] Also, the terms "Federal" and "National" in government institutions or program names generally indicate affiliation with the federal government. As the seat of government is in Islamabad, "Islamabad" is commonly used as a metonym for the federal government. [2] [3] [4]

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 [5]

The basic civil and criminal laws governing the citizens of Pakistan are set down in major parliamentary legislation (a term inherited from the United 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. [6] [7] 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. [8]

Branches of government

Legislative branch

The legislative branch is known as the parliament, a term for legislature inherited from the United Kingdom. The parliament has two houses;

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.

Executive branch

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). [9] Popularly elected by direct elections in the parliament, the Prime minister is responsible for appointing a cabinet as well as running the government operations. [9]

The Prime Minister makes key appointments on various important positions, including;

  • The federal secretaries as head of cabinet- level ministries
  • The chief secretaries of the provinces
  • Key administrative and military personnel in the Pakistan Armed Forces
  • The chairmen of large public sector organisations and corporations such as NHA, TCP, PIA, PNSC etc.
  • The chairmen and other members of the federal commissions and public institutions
  • Ambassadors and High Commissioners to other countries

The Cabinet can have a maximum of 11 percent (50 members including the Prime Minister) of the total strength of the Parliament. [10] Each Cabinet member must be a member of Parliament (MP). [11] 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. [11]

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. [11] [12]


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 now not eligible for reelection (18th amendment). [11] 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. [11]

The President enjoys all constitutional powers and exercises them directly or through officers subordinate to him as per the aforesaid Article 41-Article 47. [13]

The President is responsible for making a wide variety of appointments. [13]

These include:

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. [14]

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. [13] 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. [13]

Judicial branch

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. [6] 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. [2] 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. [15]

Judicature transfer

The Constitution grants powers to the Supreme Court to make judicature transfers. [15] 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. [15]

Supreme Judicial Council

Misconduct of judges is highly intolerable as is mentioned in the constitution. Under the mainframe of the Supreme Judicial Council Article 209 an inquiry into the capacity or conduct of a Judge, who is a member of the Council, may be conducted.

Civil service

The civil service of Pakistan is the 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 cadres (e.g. Pakistan Administrative Service, Police Service of Pakistan etc.) after passing the CSS examinations. 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 responsible for implementing and enforcing it.

Federal secretaries

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. [16] [17] Due to the importance of their respective assignments, there are twelve specific federal secretaries which are considered to be the most vital in the Government of Pakistan. These include the Secretary Establishment (responsible for civil service matters), Secretary Commerce (responsible for trade), Secretary Cabinet (responsible for Cabinet Division), Secretary to the Prime Minister (responsible for Prime Minister's Office), Secretary Interior (responsible for law and order), Secretary Finance (responsible for the country's treasury), Secretary Foreign Affairs (responsible for foreign relations), Secretary Maritime Affairs (responsible for ports and shipping), Secretary Power (responsible for the electricity and power sector), Secretary Planning and Development (responsible for development projects), Secretary Petroleum (responsible for the petroleum sector) and Secretary Industries (responsible for industrial development). [18] [19]

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. [20]

Elections and voting system

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. [21]

There has been four times that the martial law has been in effect, and controversially approved by the supreme court. [11] Through a general election where the leader of the majority winning party is selected to be the Prime Minister. [11] All members of the federal legislature, the Parliament, are directly elected. Elections in Pakistan take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. [11]

Administration and governments

Provincial and Local governments

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. [22] [22] 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. [23] It is the third level of government, consisting Jirga in rural tribal areas. [14]


Taxation and budget

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. [24] 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. [25] Only 0.57% of Pakistanis, or 768,000 people out of a population of 190 million pay income tax. [25]

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. [26] 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. [27]

National Finance Commission program overview

Constituted under the Article 160 of the Constitution of Pakistan 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. [28]

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. [29]

Ministries and divisions

Federal Government Ministries of Pakistan
 Federal Ministerial Departments  Ministerial Divisions  Creation 
Cabinet Secretariat Cabinet Division
Establishment Division
Capital Administration and Development Division
Aviation Division
Climate Change Climate Change Division
Commerce and Textile Industry Commerce Division
Textile Industry Division
Communications Communications Division1947
Defence Defence Division1947
Defence Production Defence Production Division1972
Energy Petroleum Division
Power Division
Federal Education and Professional Training Federal Education and Professional Training Division
Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs Finance Division
Revenue Division
Economic Affairs Division
Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Division
Housing and Works Housing and Works Division
Human Rights Human Rights Division
Interior Interior Division
Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Division
Industries and Production Industries and Production Division
Information Technology and Telecommunication Information Technology and Telecommunication Division
Inter-Provincial Coordination Inter Provincial Coordination Division
Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Division
Labour Labour Division
Law and Justice Law and Justice Division
Maritime Affairs Maritime Affairs Division
Narcotics Control Narcotics Control Division
Parliamentary Affairs Parliamentary Affairs Division
Planning and Development Planning and Development Division
National Food Security and Research National Food Security and Research Division
National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division
Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Division
States and Frontier Regions States and Frontier Regions Division
Statistics Statistics Division
Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Division
Postal Services Postal Services Division
Privatisation Privatisation Division
Science and Technology Science and Technology Division
Water Resources Water Resources Division
Railways Railways Division




See also

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