Politics of Pakistan

The politics of Pakistan (سیاسیاتِ پاکستان) takes place within the framework established by the constitution. The country is a federal parliamentary republic in which provincial governments enjoy a high degree of autonomy and residuary powers. Executive power is vested with the national cabinet which is headed by Prime Minister of Pakistan (Imran Khan; 2018-), who works coherently along with the bicameral parliament and the judicature.[1] Stipulations set by the constitution provide a delicate check and balance of sharing powers between executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government.[2]

The head of state is the president who is elected by the electoral college for a five-year term. Arif Alvi is currently the president of Pakistan (2018-). The president was a significant authority until the 18th amendment, passed in 2010, stripped the presidency of its major powers. Since then, Pakistan has been shifted from a Semi-presidential system to a purely parliamentary government. Since the amendment, the president's powers include the grant to pardon, and the ability to suspend or moderate any sentence passed by any court or authority.[3]

The Government consists of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The Executive branch consists of the Cabinet and is led by the Prime Minister. It is totally independent of the legislative branch that consists of a bicameral parliament. The Upper House is the Senate whilst the National Assembly is the lower house.[4] The Judicial branch forms with the composition of the Supreme Court as an apex court, alongside the high courts and other inferior courts.[5][6] The judiciary's function is to interpret the Constitution and federal laws and regulations.[7][8]

Pakistan is a multiparty democracy where several political parties compete for seats in the National and Provincial assemblies. However, as an aftermath of the Fall of Dhaka in 1971, a two-party system was inculcated between the Peoples Party and Muslim League. There has also been a sharp rise in the popularity of centrist parties such that PML-Q and PTI.[9][10] The Military establishment has played an influential role in the country's politics. From 1950s to 2000s, several coups were staged that overthrew democratic regimes. However, after the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf in 2008, a sharp line has been drawn between the Military and politics and Pakistan is moving closer to becoming a liberal democracy. However, critique argue that country is moving towards strict hybrid system, a system in which military and political leaders take collective decisions, thus affecting overall power structure of civilian government. Meanwhile many proponent stands with the change and depicts it as a needed change in the country's system to bring in more civilian voice in the policy making process. Many praise the efforts and give example of how successful this system has been like National Command and Control Center (NCOC)[11] to track Covid-19 response effectively at the state level, National Locust Control Centre (NLCC)[12][13] to counter the locust attack and ensures food security in the country[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Pakistan a "hybrid regime" in 2019.[22][needs update]


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