The official name of Pakistan is Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the political system of Pakistan is parliamentary type. The President of Pakistan is the largely ceremonial head of state, the Prime Minister is head of government, and there is a multiparty system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is largely vested in the Parliament.
There are three major branches of the Government, they are:
1. Executive Branch
2. Legislative Branch
3. Judicial Branch
1. Executive branch
The president of Pakistan, in keeping with the constitutional provision that the state religion is Islam, must be a Muslim. Elected for a five-year term by an Electoral College consisting of members of the Senate and National Assembly and members of the provincial assemblies, the president is eligible for re-election. The president may resign or be impeached and may be removed from office due to incapacity or gross misconduct by a two-thirds vote of the members of the parliament. The president generally acts on the advice of the prime minister.
The prime minister is appointed by the members of the National Assembly through a vote. The prime minister is assisted by the Federal Cabinet, a council of ministers whose members are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister. The Federal Cabinet comprises the ministers, ministers of state, and advisers.
2. Legislative branch
The bicameral federal legislature consists of the Senate (upper house) and National Assembly (lower house). According to Article 50 of the Constitution, the National Assembly, the Senate and the President together make up a body known as the Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament).
The Senate is a permanent legislative body with equal representation from each of the four provinces, elected by the members of their respective provincial assemblies. There are representatives from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and from Islamabad Capital Territory. The chairman of the Senate, under the constitution, is next in line to act as president should the office become vacant and until such time as a new president can be formally elected. Both the Senate and the National Assembly can initiate and pass legislation except for finance bills. Only the National Assembly can approve the federal budget and all finance bills.
ii. National Assembly
Members of the National Assembly are elected by universal adult vote (after eighteen years of age). Seats are allocated to each of the four provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Islamabad Capital Territory on the basis of population. National Assembly members serve for the parliamentary term, which is five years, unless they die or resign sooner, or unless the National Assembly is dissolved. Although the vast majority of the members are Muslim, about 5 percent of the seats are reserved for minorities, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs. Elections for minority seats are held on the basis of separate electorates at the same time as the polls for Muslim seats during the general elections. There are also 50+ special seats for women now, and women are selected (i.e. not directly elected in the general election but given representation according to how their parties performed in the general election) on these seat by their party head.
3. Judicial branch
The judiciary includes the Supreme Court, provincial high courts, District & sessions Courts, Civil and Magistrate courts exercising civil and criminal jurisdiction. Some federal and provincial courts and tribunals such as Services court, Income tax & excise court, Banking court and Boards of Revenue’s Tribunals are as well established in all provinces.
i. Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has decision making, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction. Supreme court provides the explanation of constitution and it can take Sou-Motto action for any violation of basic human rights of citizens. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is appointed by the president; the other Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice. The chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court may remain in office until age sixty-five.
ii. Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan
The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan is a court which has the power to examine and determine whether the laws of the country comply with Shari’a law. It consists of 8 Muslim judges appointed by the President of Pakistan after consulting the Chief Justice of this Court, from amongst the serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court or a High Court or from amongst persons possessing the qualifications of judges of a High Court. Of the 8 judges, 3 are required to be Ulema who are well versed in Islamic law. The judges hold office for a period of 3 years, which may eventually be extended by the President. Appeal against its decisions lie to the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of 3 Muslim judges of the Supreme Court and 2 Ulema, appointed by the President. If any part of the law is declared to be against Islamic law, the government is required to take necessary steps to amend such law appropriately.
Pakistan is subdivided into 4 provinces, 3 territories, and 1 capital territory. Each province has a Provincial Assembly, a directly elected legislature. Members are elected for five-year terms. Each Assembly elects a Chief Minister, who then selects the ministers of his or her cabinet.
• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
• Federally Administered Tribal Areas
• Azad Kashmir
• Gilgit-Baltistan has semi-provincial status with a directly elected Legislature, an elected Chief minister and federally appointed Governor for the region.
• Islamabad Capital Territory