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Pakistan Government


Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal republic with Islam as the state religion. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956 but suspended by Ayub Khan in 1958. The restored and amended Constitution of 1973 is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of the current government.

The order of operations constitutes a Westminster system, and it comprises three branches of government: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. The executive branch is headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, who is a chief executive (Head of Government) and exercises his or her power on officers subordinate to him or her. The President of Pakistan is merely a figurehead and Head of State who is a civilian Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces and holds ceremonial powers to fulfil the constitutional requirements; the president's appointment and tenure is dependent, constitutionally, on the Prime Minister’s term. The Parliament (Legislature) consists of a lower house (National Assembly) and an upper house (Senate), as well as the president.

The Electoral College, composed of the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four Provincial Assemblies, chooses a president, through indirect elections, for a five-year term. The prime minister is a supreme leader of the majority party (or director of the coalition government) in the National Assembly and is assisted by a cabinet of ministers drawn from both chambers of the Parliament.

The judiciary is organised as a hierarchy, with the Supreme Court at the apex, below which are High Courts, Federal Sharia Courts (one in each province and one in the federal capital), District Courts (one in each district), Judicial Magistrate Courts (in every town and city), Executive Magistrate Courts and Civil Courts. Pakistan's penal code has limited jurisdiction in the Tribal Areas, where law is largely derived from tribal customs.

Pakistan is a federation of four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, as well as the Islamabad Capital Territory and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in the northwest, which include the Frontier Regions. The government of Pakistan exercises de facto jurisdiction over the western parts of the disputed Kashmir region, organised into the separate political entities Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas). The Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009 assigned a province-like status to the latter, giving it self-government.

Each province has a similar system of government, with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or alliance becomes chief minister. Provincial governors are appointed by the president. The Pakistani military establishment has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's political history.


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

: name: Islamabad
geographic coordinates: 33 41 N, 73 03 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 : Republic Day, 23 March (1956)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 15 December 2007; last amended 28 February 2012
Legal system
: common law system with Islamic law influence
International law organisation participation : accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage : 18 years of age; universal; note - there are 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 Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (since 22 June 2012); Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervais Elahi (since 25 June 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president upon the advice of the prime minister
elections: president elected by secret ballot through an Electoral College comprising the members of the Senate, National Assembly, and 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 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 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; Prime Minister Raja Pervais Ashraf elected by Parliament - Ashraf 211 votes, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi 89 votes
Legislative branch

: bicameral parliament or Majlis-e-Shoora consists of the Senate (104 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 2 March 2012 (next to be held in March 2015); National Assembly - last held on 18 February 2008 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPPP 41, PML-N 14, ANP 12, JUI-F 7, MQM 7, PML-Q 5, BNP-A 4, NPP 1, PML-F 1, independents 12; National Assembly - percent of votes by party - NA; seats by party as of November 2012 - PPPP 125, PML-N 92, PML 50, MQM 24, ANP 13, JUI-F 8, PML-F 5, BNP-A 1, NPP 1, PPP-S 1, independents 18, unfilled seats - 4
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; Balochistan National Party-Hayee Group or BNP-H [Dr. Hayee Baloch]; Balochistan National Party-Mengal or BNP-M; Jamaat-i Islami or JI [Syed Munawar Hasan]; Jamhoori Watan Party or JWP; Jamiat Ahle Hadith or JAH [Sajid MIR]; Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam Fazl-ur Rehman or JUI-F [Fazl-ur Rehman]; Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam Sami-ul Haq or JUI-S [Sami ul-Haq]; Jamiat-i Ulema-i Pakistan or JUP [Abul Khair Zubair]; Millat-e-Jafferia [Allama Sajid Naqvi]; Muttahida Qaumi Movement or MQM [Altaf Hussain]; 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-Quaid-i Azam or PML-Q [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]; Quami Watan Party or QWP [Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao]; Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf or PTI [Imran Khan]
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 organisation participation
Diplomatic representation in the US
: chief of mission: Ambassador Sheherbano "Sherry" Rehman
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 Richard Olson
embassy: Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad
mailing address: 8100 Islamabad Pl., Washington, DC 20521-8100
telephone: [92] (51) 208-0000
fax: [92] (51) 227-6427
consulate(s) general: Karachi
consulate(s): Lahore, Peshawar
Flag description : green with a vertical white band (symbolising the role of religious minorities) on the hoist side; a large white crescent and star are centred in the green field; the crescent, star and colour green are traditional symbols of Islam
National symbol(s) : star and crescent
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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