Prime Minister of Pakistan

Prime Minister of the
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
وزیر اعظم
Flag of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.svg
Standard of the Prime Minister of Pakistan
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

since 1 August 2017
Style His Excellency
(diplomatic)
Mr. Prime Minister
(informal)
Honourable Prime Minister
(formal)
Member of
Reports to President
Residence
Seat Islamabad
Appointer ECP:
by a Convention that is held in the National Assembly, based on appointee's ability to command confidence among the majority of the members.
Term length As long as the confidence, and the membership, of the assembly is enjoyed.
Inaugural holder Liaquat Ali Khan
(1947–1951)
Formation 14 August 1947; 70 years ago (1947-08-14)
Website www.pmo.gov.pk/
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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Pakistan
Constitution

The Prime Minister of Pakistan ( Urdu: وَزِیرِ اَعظَم‎ — Wazīr-ē Aʿẓam, Urdu pronunciation:  [ʋəˈziːr-ˌeː ˈɑː.zəm]; lit. " Grand Vizier"), is the head of government of Pakistan and designated as the "chief executive of the Republic". [1] [2] The Prime Minister leads the executive branch of the government, oversees the economic growth, leads the National Assembly, heads the Council of Common Interests as well as the Cabinet, and is vested with the command authority over the nuclear arsenals. [3] [4] [5]

This position places its holder in leadership of the nation and in control over all matters of internal and foreign policy. [6] The last holder of this position was Nawaz Sharif who was recently disqualified by the Supreme Court. [7] He was replaced by interim Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The Prime Minister is elected by the members of the National Assembly and therefore is usually the leader of the majority party in the parliament. The Constitution of Pakistan vests the executive powers in the Prime Minister, who is responsible for appointing the Cabinet as well as running the executive branch, taking and authorising executive decisions, appointments and recommendations that require executive confirmation of the Prime Minister. [2]

Constitutionally, the Prime Minister serves as the chief adviser to President of Pakistan on critical matters and plays an influential role in appointment in each branch and the military leadership as well as ensuring the control of the military through chairman joint chiefs. [8] [9] Powers of the Prime Minister have significantly grown with a delicate system of the check and balance by each branch. [10] The position was absent during years of 1960–73 and 1977–85 due to imposed martial law. In each of these periods, the military junta led by the President had the powers of the Prime Minister. [11]

Constitutional law

The Constitution envisages a scheme of affairs in which the President of Pakistan is the head of state who represents the "unity of the Republic." The system of government in Pakistan is based on codified constitution which sees the Prime Minister as " chief executive of the Republic."

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."

— Article 90(1) in Chapter 3: The Federal Government of Part III: The Federation of Pakistan in the Constitution of Pakistan, source [12]

In addition, the Prime Minister is also the chairman of the Council of Common Interests as set by:

(1) There shall be a Council of Common Interests, in this Chapter referred to as the Council, to be appointed by the President

(2) The Council shall consist of-
(a) the Prime Minister who shall be the Chairman of the Council;
(b) the Chief Ministers of the Provinces;

(c) three members from the Federal Government to be nominated by the Prime Minister from time to time.
— Article 153 in Chapter 3: Special Provisions of Part V: Relations between Federation and Provinces in the Constitution of Pakistan, source [13]

As in most of the parliamentary democracies, a head of state's duties are mostly ceremonial. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is the head of government and has the responsibility for executive power. With Pakistan following a parliamentary system of government, the Prime minister is generally the leader of a party (or coalition of parties) that has a majority in the National Assembly —the lower house of the Parliament of Pakistan. The Prime minister, in common with all other ministers, either has to be a current member of National Assembly, or be elected within six months of being appointed. [12]

Role and powers of the Prime minister

Prime Minister's Secretariat in Islamabad– the principal workplace of the Prime Minister.

The official residence and principal workplace of the Prime Minister is the Prime Minister's Secretariat located in northeast Islamabad. The Prime Minister is the Chief Executive who heads and exercises the authority of the Government of Pakistan. After obtaining a vote of confidence, the Prime Minister is invited by the President to take the oath of office and form the government. [12] In practice, the Prime Minister nominates the members of the Cabinet who supervise the important functions and ministries of the Government of Pakistan. [12] In addition, the Prime Minister communicates to the President all decisions of the Cabinet relating to the administration of affairs of state and proposals for legislation. [14]

The Prime Minister, in consultation with the Cabinet, schedules and attends the sessions of the Parliament and is required to answer questions from Members of Parliament to the ministers.

Some specific ministries/department are not allocated to anyone in the cabinet but the prime minister himself. The prime minister is usually always in-charge/Chairman of:

The Prime minister is vested with command authority over the Pakistani nuclear arsenals and represents the country in various delegations, high-level meetings and international organisations that require the attendance of the highest government office and also addresses the nation on various issues of national importance. [5]

Eligibility

The Constitution of Pakistan requires that the Prime Minister be a member of the National Assembly. [15] In order to be a member of the National Assembly one must:

  • be a citizen of Pakistan.
  • be a Muslim
  • be above 25 years of age
  • be able to prove good conduct of character and be not commonly known to violate Islamic injunctions
  • have adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practice obligatory duties prescribed by Islam, as well as abstaining from major sins
  • have not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the ideology of Pakistan.

Selection and removal

The candidates for the prime minister are members of the National Assembly or Senate who were chosen through direct elections by popular vote following campaigning on the party platforms. [16] Usually, the leader of the majority party in the parliament retains the office of prime minister, and forms the government either by coalition or by simple majority. [17] The candidate must retain the vote of confidence of the members of the parliament before being invited by the President to form the government. [12]

The Prime Minister can be removed before the expiry of the term through a vote of no confidence in the parliament. [12] If the vote of no confidence is passed by the National Assembly by not less than 20%, the Prime Minister ceases to retain the office. [12] In the past, prime ministers (and their governments) have been dismissed by the President exercising the VIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan (1985), but this was repealed by the XVIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan (2010). [18] [19] In addition, the Prime Minister himself has absolute constitutional immunity from criminal and civil proceedings, and no proceedings can be initiated or continued against him during the term of his office. [20]

In 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ceased at least one Prime Minister from retaining the office due to contempt of court after retroactively disqualifying the membership of the parliament permanently. [21] [22]

On 28 July 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from retaining the office due to his failure in fulfilling the eligibility requirements as enshrined in Articles 62 of the Constitution. This was in the aftermath of the Supreme Court hearing regarding the Panama Papers Case. This also resulted in him being permanently disqualified from membership of the parliament. [23]

The prime minister is elected by the National Assembly. [24] The National Assembly meets on the twenty-first day after a general election (at least every five years) unless the President calls for a vote of no confidence. Whichever member of the National assembly is chosen serves as the Prime Minister until the next election or until he fails to maintain the confidence of the National Assembly.

91. The Cabinet:

(1) There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers, with the Prime Minister at its head, to aid and advise the President in the exercise of his functions.

(2) The National Assembly shall meet on the twenty-first day following the day on which a general election to the Assembly is held unless sooner summoned by the President.

(3) After the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, the National Assembly shall, to the exclusion of any other business, proceed to elect without debate one of its Muslim members to be the Prime Minister.

(4) The Prime Minister shall be elected by the votes of the majority of the total membership of the National Assembly:

Provided that, if no member secures such majority in the first poll, a second poll shall be held between the members who secure the two highest numbers of votes in the first poll and the member who secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting shall be declared to have been elected as Prime Minister:

Provided further that, if the number of votes secured by two or more members securing the highest number of votes is equal, further poll shall be held between them until one of them secures a majority of votes of the members present and voting.

(5) The member elected under clause (4) shall be called upon by the President to assume the office of Prime Minister and he shall, before entering upon the office, make before the President oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule:

Provided that there shall be no restriction on the number of terms for the office of the Prime Minister.

Oath of office

The Prime Minister is required to make and subscribe to, in the presence of the President, an oath or affirmation that they shall protect, preserve and defend the Constitution as follows:

I, ____________, do swear solemnly that l am a Muslim and believe in the Unity and Oneness of Almighty Allah, the Books of Allah, the Holy Qura'an being the last of them, the Prophethood of Muhammad ( peace be upon him) as the last of the Prophets and that there can be no Prophet after him, the Day of Judgment, and all the requirements and teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah:

That I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan:

That, as Prime Minister of Pakistan, I will discharge my duties, and perform my functions, hon-estly, to the best of my ability, faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well- being and prosperity of Pakistan:

That I will strive to preserve the Islamic Ideology which is the basis for the creation of Pakistan:

That I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions:

That I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:

That, in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favor, affection or ill- will:

And that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as Prime Minister except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as Prime Minister.

May Allah Almighty help and guide me ( A'meen).
— Article 91 in Chapter 3: The Federal Governmentin Part III: The Federation of Pakistan in the Constitution of Pakistan
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