governmental structure

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The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (as modified and amended up to 19th March 1985) provides for a Federal Parliamentary System with a President as Head of State and a popularly elected Prime Minister as Head of Government.

There are 3 main constituents of the federal government:

  • Executive Government: This is headed by the Prime Minister, who is assisted by the Federal Cabinet that consists of Ministers and Advisors
  • Parliament: The Parliament is headed by the President, who is assisted by the National Assembly and the Senate
  • Judiciary: The Judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, which is assisted by the Federal Shariat Court, Provincial High Courts (who, in turn, are helped by City Courts) and the Mohtasib/ Ombudsperson

The Prime Minister is appointed by the members of the National Assembly (housed in Islamabad) through a vote.

The National Assembly of Pakistan consists of elected members (numbers decided based on population; see table) from each of the four provinces.

The following table provides the name of the province and number of National Assembly seats according to the Constitution of Pakistan:

Administrative Unit General Seats Women Seats Minority Seats Total
Balochistan 14 3 17
FATA 12 12
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 35 8 43
Punjab 148 35 183
Islamabad 2 2
Sindh 61 14 75
Total 272 60 10 332 + 10

Table 1.2 Pakistan Governmental Structure: National Assembly

The Senate consists of members from all provinces elected by the members of their respective Provincial Assemblies. The Chairman of the Senate, under the Constitution, acts as President, should the office become vacant, until a new President can be formally elected. Both the Senate and the National Assembly can initiate, and pass, legislation and amendments to the Constitution but only the National Assembly can approve the federal budget and all finance bills.

Pakistan is a Federation of 4 provinces, and the Islamabad Capital Territory. Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas) and FATA have their own respective governments, which enjoy financial and administrative autonomy. The provincial governments are headed by the Chief Minister who is elected by the members of the Provincial Assembly and assisted by the Provincial Cabinet which comprises of Ministers and Advisors of various departments. Each province has a Governor who is the representative of the Federation in the province. In most cases, the Governor acts on the advice of the Chief Minister and assents to the legislation made by the Provincial Assemblies.

The following table provides details of the province and number of seats in the Provincial Assembly:

Name of Assembly General Seats Women Seats Minority Seats Total Location (City)
Balochistan 51 11 3 65 Quetta
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 99 22 3 124 Peshawar
Punjab 297 66 8 371 Lahore
Sindh 130 29 9 168 Karachi

Table 1.3 Pakistan Governmental Structure: Provincial Assemblies