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President of Pakistan
Appointed by [Electoral College
Incumbent Mamnoon Hussain
Preceded by Asif Ali Zardari
Personal details
Residence Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad

The President of Pakistan (Urdu language: صدر مملکت پاکستان‎ —Ṣadr-e Mumlikat-e Pākistān, Urdu pronunciation: [ˌsəd̪ˈr-eː ˈmʊm.lɪˌkət̪-e pɑː.kɪs.t̪ɑːn]) is the designated figurehead and ceremonial head of state of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The President holds the title de jure. However, the executive powers of Pakistan rest with the prime minister. Mamnoon Hussain was elected president on July 30, 2013, and assumed office in September, succeeding Asif Ali Zardari.

Role of the president

Ceremonial guard of honour at the Aiwan-e-sadr

The official residence and, principal workplace of the president, is the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the presidential palace in northeast Islamabad. The eighteenth amendment to the constitution returned Pakistan to a parliamentary democratic republic. The president's powers are limited to ceremonial duties. However, he must address the Majlis-e-Shoora, the parliament and give it direction on policy and, in turn, he is informed of its key decisions. The president is also the civilian commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces and the chairman of the National Security Council. (The prime-minister is the vice-chairman). With respect to the [udiciary], the president will recommend appointments, which receive the approval of the prime minister. The president has the power to pardon and to grant clemency in cases recommended to him by the prime minister. The president 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.

Election and dismissal

The President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a five-year term. The electoral college is composed of the Senate, the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies. The president may be re-elected for a second term but may not serve for more than two consecutive terms. The president may be impeached and subsequently removed from office by a two-thirds majority vote of the parliament.

Presidential powers

At various times in history, often related to military coups and then subsequent return of civilian government, changes in the constitution have altered the powers and privileges associated with the office of the president. For instance, the seventeenth amendment of the constitution, gave the president reserve powers subject to Supreme Court approval or veto. The reserve powers enabled the president to dissolve the National Assembly, triggering new elections. This act was drafted by General Pervez Musharraf. In 2010, these powers were revoked by the eighteenth amendment.

History of the presidency in Pakistan

Presidential standard (1956–1967)

Presidential republic (1956–1971)

The 1956 constitution replaced the Governor-General with an office of president. Major-General (retired) Iskander Ali Mirza, the standing Governor General became Pakistan's first president. In 1958, Mirza suspended the constitution and declared martial law. Mirza appointed Army Commander-in-Chief General Ayub Khan (Field Marshall) as the first Chief Martial Law Administrator. After a short time, Mirza was overthrown in a bloodless coup d'état by General Khan. Khan declared himself President. In 1962, Khan changed the constitution. Pakistan became a Presidential republic. The new constitution stipulated that the President should be elected by the public. Under internal and international pressure, Khan called the 1965 election. His opposition was Fatima Jinnah, the younger sister of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of modern day Pakistan. Some allege the 1965 election was not free and fair.[citation needed]. Khan led the country to war with India. Afterwards, Khan was challenged by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with the support of demonstrators. However, Khan fell ill (with paralysis and was unable to govern. He stepped down in favour of the Army Commander-in-Chief, General Yahya Khan who imposed martial law; suspended the presidential constitution and became military President and Chief Martial Law Administrator. Calls for democratic elections continued and eventually were held in 1970. Yahya Khan prevailed. Once again, irregularities in the election were alleged. Nurul Amin was made Vice president and later became Prime minister secretariat. Bhutto was offered the post of vice prime minister and Mujib, that of vice-president. Both Bhutto and Mujib declined due to electoral irregularities. Bhutto and Mujib were arrested. Khan's rule ended at the time of the Bangladesh Liberation War in East Pakistan and the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 in West Pakistan.

Parliamentary democracy (1971–1977)

Presidential standard (1974–1998)

Politically isolated and devastated after the fall of a United Pakistan, Khan stepped down. Bhutto became president and the first civilian chief martial law administrator. He engaged Pakistan's political parties in a process leading to parliamentary democracy. In 1973, Bhutto officiated the 1973 constitution. It reduced the presidency to a figurehead position. Central executive powers lay with the prime minister.

Martial law (1977–1988)

On 5 July 1977, in an atmosphere of civil unrest over the 1977 parliamentary elections, General Zia-ul-Haq took power from Bhutto in a military coup. Zia declared himself the third Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA). Zia suspended the constitution and enforced the martial law. Under international pressure to uphold democracy, Zia held a referendum and won. He became president and temporarily disbanded the office of prime minister. This was documented in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. Elections were held in 1985 and re-established the office of prime minister. Zia hand picked the new prime minister but faced ongoing opposition from supporters of the previously elected prime minister. Zia called for elections in 1988 but died before they were held. At the new elections, the prime minister chosen by Zia resigned.

Semi-presidential system (1988–1993)

The civilian president elected at the 1988 election was Ghulam Ishaq Khan. He created a semi-presidential system enabling him to repeatedly dismiss the governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif on charges of nepotism and corruption. However, under public pressure, Khan was forced to resign. After the 1993 elections, Benazir Bhutto was endowed with complete prime ministerial rule but was dismissed shortly after the president she nominated, Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, used the eighth constitutional amendment to remove her.

Parliamentary democracy (1997–1999)

In 1997, Nawaz Sharif succeeded in the 1997 parliamentary elections, gaining a two-thirds majority in the parliament.

Semi-presidential system (1999–2007)

However, the 1999 coup of General Pervez Musharraf returned executive powers to the president. Musharraf did not suspend the constitution. He did however pass the PCO order, 1999 and the LFO, 2002, allowing the president to make extensive changes to the constitution. In 2002, non-party national and provincial elections were held. In 2003, the seventeenth amendment fully restored the president's powers, but made the exercise of those powers subject to approval or veto within 30 days. In January 2004, the Electoral College of Pakistan gave Musharraf a vote of confidence, as result of which he was, according to the Constitution, "deemed to be elected." [1]

State of Emergency (2007–2008)

On 3 November 2007, just before the end of his presidential term, Musharraf declared a state of emergency and de facto martial law. The judiciary was purged of all independent-minded judges, including the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Musharraf appointed a new judiciary who validated the 2007 presidential election, declaring Musharraf the victor. Musharraf began a further five-year term as the president of Pakistan.

Later, the constitutional legality of Musharraf's rule was found dubious. Musharraf labelled his doubters "unintelligent" and then resigned. His departure was announced in a public broadcast on 18 August 2008 and was effective immediately. In accordance with the Pakistani constitution, the Chairman of the Senate became the acting president while the electoral college elected a permanent successor (within the next thirty days). On 22 August 2008, the electoral commission called for presidential nominations to be delivered by 26 August 2008 and for elections on 6 September 2008.[2][3]

On 6 September 2008 Asif Ali Zardari was elected as Pakistan's thirteenth president. The chief electoral commissioner, Qazi Muhammad Farooq, found that Zardari had secured 281 votes out of 426 valid votes. His opponents were the former judge, Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, who was nominated by Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League, (Nawaz) (PML-N), and Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who was nominated by members of the Pakistan Muslim League (who had supported Musharraf).[4][5]

In Sindh province, Zardari won 62 of 65 electoral votes; in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (North West Frontier Province), 56 votes of 62; and in Balochistan Province, 59 votes of 61.[6][7] The BBC reported Zardari's large majority:

"Zardari won 459 votes, far more than the 352 votes that would have guaranteed him victory."[8]

The election coincided with a suicide car bombing at a security checkpoint on the outskirts of Peshawar which killed twelve people.[9]

Parliamentary democracy (2008–present)

On 9 September 2008, Asif Ali Zardari became president. His oath was given before the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Abdul Hameed Dogar. The conservative party, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and the ruling party, the Pakistan Peoples Party called for a return to the 1973 constitution which gives ruling power to an elected prime minister. The religious conservative party, the MMA, the socialist party, the Awami National Party, and the liberal secular party, the MQM, joined with the "Pakistan Muslim League" to call for parliamentary democracy as it existed in 1997. In 2010, the Parliament unanimously and with a large majority, passed the eighteenth amendment of the constitution. It revoked the presidential powers and changed Pakistan from a semi-presidential system of government to a parliamentary republic, with great hopes of governmental stability in the future.

On 9 September 2013, Mamnoon Hussain became president. Mamnoon Hussain is a Pakistani textile businessman and politician who is the current President of Pakistan.

Line of succession to president of Pakistan

Pakistan has a parliamentary system of government that has been modified several times since its inception. Article 49 of the Constitution discusses the possibility of an acting president.

The constitution does not allow for a vice president, but the Chairman]of the Senate can act as an 'acting president' in the absence of a president or if the president's office stands vacant.

List of presidents of Pakistan

The head of state of Pakistan prior to 1956 was the British Monarch. For explanation and list of Governors-General (the British monarch's representatives in Pakistan) from 1947 to 1956, see "Governor-General of Pakistan".

See also


External links

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