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The Prime Minister

The Prime Minister of Pakistan ( Wazir-e- Azam meaning "Grand Minister"), is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government.

The Prime Minister is elected by the National Assembly, members of which are elected by popular vote. Most commonly, the leader of the party or coalition with the most votes becomes the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is responsible for appointing a cabinet as well as running the government operations. The Seventeenth Amendment imposed a check on this power, making it subject to Supreme Court approval or veto. However, in 2010, the XVII Amendment has been reversed and is replaced with more effective XVIII Amendment to the Constitution, clearly turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic.


The office of Prime Minister was created immediately after the establishment and the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Originally, the Prime Minister was given central executive powers, which were later reduced as the power of the Governor-General grew. Liaquat Ali Khan was the first prime minister appointed in 1947, but was assassinated in 1951. From 1951 till 1957, country saw the tenuring of seven different Prime ministers. In 1956, Parliament of Pakistan adopted the 1956 constitution, replacing the Governor-General with President of Pakistan. However, the office was disbanded by President Iskandar Mirza and, in a coup d'├ętat led by his successor General Ayub Khan in 1958. Khan replaced the 1956 parliamentary constitution with 1962 Presidential system, completely dissolving the Prime minister Secretariat. From 1958 until 1970, there was no prime minister as the country had the Presidential system. In 1970, General Yahya Khan appointed Pakistan Movement activist and respected figure Nurul Amin as the Prime minister and illegally created the office of Vice Prime minister for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mujibur Rehman. Though, both denied to take the charge of this office, which led to the arrest of both by Pakistan Army Corps of Military Police. After a humiliating and war in East Pakistan, and later war with India, the Presidential system collapsed. Following the imposition of 1973 constitution of Pakistan, the office of Prime minister regained, and architect of this constitution, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the elected Prime minister of Pakistan. The 1973 constitution provide the parliamentary system to Pakistan as President of Pakistan as figurehead.

First prime minister of Pakistan

However, Bhutto was overthrown on 5 July 1977, and martial law declared again, with the office of Prime Minister being suspended until 1985 when Muhammad Khan Junejo was appointed by the newly elected National Assembly. This election also brought the eighth amendment to the 1973 Constitution, and gave the President powers that balanced those of the Prime Minister. The President was now able to dismiss the Prime Minister and the National Assembly (effectively calling for new elections) without prior consultation with the Prime Minister. In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was elected as Prime Minister, becoming the first female head of government to be democratically elected in a Muslim country.
slim country.
From 1990 onwards, the offices of President and Prime Minister would clash, with the President dissolving the National Assembly, and thus dismissing the Prime Minister a total of three times until 1996, with new elections each time. In 1997, Navaz Sharif became Prime minister who would later, through Parliament, drafted and passed Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. With these Amendments, Sharif became country's strongest Prime minister in the history of Pakistan since 1947. However, it did not last longer. After the coup of Pervez Musharraf in 1999, Musharraf assumed the role of Chief Executive, and was the sole ruler of Pakistan. In October 2002, general elections were held, with no party gaining a majority of the popular vote or National Assembly of Pakistan. A new Prime Minister was appointed after much political wrangling, Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), a pro-Musharraf political party.
In December 2003, the National Assembly passed the Seventeenth Amendment, partially restoring the power of the President to dissolve the National Assembly (and thus dismiss the Prime Minister), but making the dissolution subject to Supreme Court approval.

Jamali resigned on June 26, 2004. Interim prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain nominated the Finance minister, former Citibank Vice-President Shaukat Aziz, to the post. Aziz was elected Prime Minister on August 28, 2004, by a vote of 191 to 151 in the National Assembly. In 2003, Musharraf passed the 17th Amendment which gave the President more powers then the Prime minister, and shifted Pakistan's parliamentary system of semi-Presidential system. During 2006 till the parliamentary elections in 2008, Yousaf Raza Gillani became the Prime minister and through his elected lawmakers demanded Musharraf to imposed the 1973 constitution at its real position, and dissolved the 17th Amendment, which the President denied. More and more support to suspend the semi-presidential system began to take place in successive years which Musharraf continued to denied. Following the successful movement to impeach the President, Musharraf resigned and Zardari became the elected President of the country. In 2010, finally lawmakers drafted and successfully and unanimously passed the 18th Amendment, turning back the country to parliamentary democracy republic. The 18th Amendment also removed the power of the President of Pakistan to dissolve the Parliament unilaterally. This amendment sweeped the powers amassed by the Presidency under former Presidents General Pervez Musharraf and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and to ease political instability in Pakistan.


Read more about Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.