Constitution of Pakistan

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  • The constitution of Pakistan provides for the overarching guiding principles to run the affairs of the country
  • According to the Constitution the official name of the country is ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’
  • The preamble of the constitutions very clearly articulates that; sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust.
  • It is the will of the people of Pakistan to establish an order Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people;
  • Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam, shall be fully observed;
  • Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah;
  • Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures;
  • Wherein the territories now included in or in accession with Pakistan and such other territories as may hereafter be included in or accede to Pakistan shall form a Federation wherein the units will be autonomous with such boundaries and limitations on their powers and authority as may be prescribed;
  • Therein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights, including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality;
  • Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes;
  • Wherein the independence of the judiciary shall be fully secured;
  • Wherein the integrity of the territories of the Federation, its independence and all its rights, including its sovereign rights on land, sea and air, shall be safeguarded;
  • So that the people of Pakistan may prosper and attain their rightful and honoured place amongst the nations of the World and make their full contribution towards international peace and progress and happiness of humanity :
  • Now, therefore, we, the people of Pakistan,
  • Cognizant of our responsibility before Almighty Allah and men;
  • Cognizant of the sacrifices made by the people in the cause of Pakistan;
  • Faithful to the declaration made by the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, that Pakistan would be a democratic State based on Islamic principles of social justice;
  • Dedicated to the preservation of democracy achieved by the unremitting struggle of the people against oppression and tyranny;
  • Inspired by the resolve to protect our national and political unity and solidarity by creating an egalitarian society through a new order;
  • Do hereby, through our representatives in the National Assembly, adopt, enact and give to ourselves, this Constitution.

 

Levels of Representation

The Parliament

  • The Parliament of Pakistan, according to the Constitution of 1973, is bicameral. Article 50 of the Constitution clearly states that the Parliament of Pakistan consists of the President and two Houses known as the National Assembly and the Senate.
  • National Assembly is considered the lower house.
  • The Senate is considered to be the upper house.

National Assembly

  • The National Assembly has a total of 342 members, including 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims, as per Article 51. The seats in the National Assembly are allocated to each Province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Federal Capital on the basis of population, as officially published in the last preceding census. The present allocation of seats is as under:

 

Punjab

Sindh

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Balochistan

FATA

Federal Capital

Total

General

148

61

35

14

12

2

272

Women

35

14

8

3

0

0

60

Non-Muslims

--

--

--

--

--

--

10

Total

183

75

43

17

12

2

342

  • Members of the National Assembly are elected by direct voting in a constituency using first-past-the-post system. Candidate getting the highest number of votes in a constituency is declared elected.
  • Age limit for contesting the National Assembly Elections is minimum 25 years.
  • National Assembly seats are filled through elections which are referred to as ‘General Elections’.
  • Women seats are filled using proportional representation method.
  • The women seats are filled indirectly for which the whole province is considered as one constituency.
  • All parties submit a list of women candidates, equal to the number of seats fixed for women, prior elections, to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
  • Based on the results of general elections for the National Assembly, political parties are given the women seats in proportion to the National Assembly seats won by each party.
  • Non-Muslims seats are also filled using the same method as in the case of women seats.
  • If a political party obtains less than five percent of the total seats of the National Assembly, neither women nor non-Muslim seats are allocated to such parties.

The Senate

  • The allocation of seats for Senate is as under;

 

Punjab

Sindh

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Balochistan

FATA

Federal Capital

Total

General

14

14

14

14

8

2

66

Technocrats/Ulema

4

4

4

4

 

1

17

Women

4

4

4

4

 

1

17

Total

22

22

22

22

8

4

100

  • Age limit to become a member of the Senate is 30 years.
  • Senate elections take place in accordance with Article 59 of the Constitution. Each of the four provincial assemblies elect twenty two members from their respective provinces as per the provisions in table above.
  • The Senate is a permanent legislative body which symbolizes a process of continuity in the national affairs. The term of its members is six years. However, one-half of its members retire after every three years.
  • A casual vacancy in the Senate, caused by resignation, death, incapacitation, disqualification or removal of a member, is filled through election by the respective Electoral College and the member so elected holds office for the un-expired term of the member whose vacancy he has filled.
  • A person seeking election to the Senate should be a graduate of not less than thirty years of age and should be registered as a voter in an area or province from where he seeks election and should meet other qualifications prescribed under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
  • It is the responsibility of the Chief Election Commissioner to hold and make arrangements for the Senate elections in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote through electoral colleges.
  • The term of the members of the Senate is 6 years. However, the term of the first group of the Senators, who shall retire after completion of first 3 years of the Senate, is determined by drawing of lots by the Chief Election Commissioner.

Provincial Assemblies

  • Provincial Assemblies are mandated to run the affairs of the respective province through set procedures and systems developed for the purpose.
  • Members of the Provincial Assemblies are elected by direct voting in provincial constituencies on first-past-the-post system. A candidate, who obtains the highest number of votes in a constituency, is declared elected as a member of Provincial Assembly.
  • Elections for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies are held together i.e. through general elections voters use their right to vote for National as well as respective provincial assembly on the same day.

Province

General Seats

Seats reserved for

Total

Non-Muslims

Women

Punjab

297

8

66

371

Sindh

130

9

29

168

NWFP

99

3

22

124

Balochistan

51

3

11

65

Total:

577

23

128

728

Local Bodies/ District Governments

  • The local bodies/district governments are generally made responsible for;
    • Democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and
    • Provision of services to the citizens within the legislative and operational frameworks as designed by the Federal and respective Provincial Governments.
  • Before 2010, the district governments were managed through local government ordinance 2000. Currently all provinces are in the process of designing and defining the legal and relevant operational frameworks of local bodies within their unique cultural and political frameworks.

ToRs of the Representatives:

The major accountability areas of the public representatives at different levels of authority and responsibility i.e. Parliament, Provincial Assembles and Local Bodies are as following;

 

 

Source: http://www.na.gov.pk/uploads/documents/1308922472_189.pdf