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Amendments in 1973 Constitution

The amendment to Article 1 redefined the boundaries of Pakistan and removed references to East Pakistan after the recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan.

First Amendment

May 4, 1974
It amended Articles 1, 8, 17, 61, 101, 193, 199, 200, 209, 212, 250, 260 and 272, and the First Schedule of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The amendment to Article 1 redefined the boundaries of Pakistan and removed references to East Pakistan after the recognition of Bangladesh by Pakistan.

Second Amendment
September 21, 1974

A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), or recognises such a claimant as a Prophet or a religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.

Seventh Amendment
May 16, 1977

Insertion of new Article 96-A, in the Constitution.
Referendum as to confidence in Prime Minister:

(1) If at any time the Prime Minister considers it necessary to obtain a vote of confidence of the people of Pakistan through a referendum, he may advise the President to cause the matter to be referred to a referendum in accordance with law made by Parliament.

(2) The law shall provide for the constitution of a Referendum Commission and the manner and mode of holding a referendum.

(3) The President shall call upon the Referendum Commission to conduct a referendum amongst the persons whose names appear on the electoral rolls.

(4) Any dispute arising in connection with the counting of votes at a referendum shall be finally determined by the Referendum Commission or a member thereof authorised by it. And no dispute arising in connection with a referendum or the result thereof shall be raised or permitted to be raised before any Court or other authority whatsoever.

(5) If, on the final count of the votes cast at the referendum, the Prime Minister fails to secure majority of the total votes cast in the matter of the confidence of the people of Pakistan, he shall be deemed to have tendered his resignation within the meaning of Article 94 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The 18th Amendment aimed at removing the power of the President  to dissolve the Parliament unilaterally, turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic, and renaming North-West Frontier Province to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Eighth Amendment
November 11, 1985

It amended articles 48, 51, 56, 58, 59, 60, 75, 90, 91, 101, 105, 106, 112, 116, 130 and 144, omitted articles 152- A and added 6th schedule. However, the most important amendment was that of article 58.The President may also dissolve the National Assembly in his discretion, where, in his opinion:
(a) a vote of no-confidence having been passed against the Prime Minister, no other member of the National Assembly is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, as ascertained in a session of the National Assembly summoned for the purpose; or

(b) a situation has arisen in which the Government of the Federation cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the electorate is necessary.

Article 58 2(b), which granted the discretionary power to dissolve the National Assembly, was invoked three times in the 1990s

 by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on August 6, 1990,
by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1993 and
by President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in November 1996.In the second instance, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was reinstated by the Supreme Court, but the resulting stalemate ended with the resignations of both Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The use of Article 58 2(b) was almost exclusively justified by the President as necessary, for the removal of corrupt governments that, it was asserted, had lost the confidence of the people. Elections were held each time that caused the ruling party to lose its majority or plurality in the National Assembly.

Twelfth Amendment
July 28, 1991

Addition of new Article 212-B in the Constitution.
Establishment of Special Court and Supreme Appellate Courts for trial of heinous offences:
In order to ensure speedy trial of cases of persons accused of such of the heinous offences specified by law as are referred to them by the Federal Government, or an authority or person authorised by it, in view of their being gruesome, brutal and sensational in character or shocking to public morality, the Federal Government may by law constitute as many Special Courts and Supreme Appellate Courts as it may consider necessary.A Special Court and a Supreme Appellate Court shall decide a case or, as the case may be, an appeal within 30 days.

(Article 212-B shall cease to be a part of the Constitution after three years).

Thirteenth Amendment
April 4, 1997

The 13th Amendment  stripped the President of the power to dissolve the National Assembly and call for new elections, effectively reducing the Presidency to a ceremonial figurehead.

Fourteenth Amendment
July 4, 1997

Addition of new Article 63A in the Constitution.
63A Disqualification on ground of defection, etc.
(1) A member of a House shall be deemed to defect from a political party if he, having been elected as such, as a candidate or nominee of a political party, or under a symbol of political party or having been elected otherwise than as a candidate or nominee of a political party, and having become a member of a political party after such election by means of a declaration in writing
(a) commits a breach of party discipline which means a violation of the party constitution, code of conduct and declared policies, or
(b) votes contrary to any direction issued by the Parliamentary Party to which he belongs, or
(c) abstains from voting in the House against party policy in relation to any Bill.

(2) Where action is proposed to be taken under clause (1), sub-clause (a), the disciplinary committee of the party, on a reference by the head of the party, shall decide the matter, after giving an opportunity of a personal hearing to the member concerned within seven days.

In the event the decision is against the member, he can file an appeal, within seven days, before the head of the party, whose decision thereon shall be final.

In cases covered by clause (1), sub-clauses (b) and (c), the declaration may be made by the head of the party concerned after examining the explanation of the member and determining whether or not that member has defected.

(3) The presiding officer of the House shall be intimated the decision by the head of the political party in addition to intimation which shall also be sent to the concerned member. The presiding officer shall within two days transmit the decision to the Chief Election Commissioner.

The Chief Election Commissioner shall give effect to such decision within seven days from the date of the receipt of such intimation by declaring the seat vacant and amend it under the schedule of the by-election.

Fifteenth Amendment
Addition of new Article 2B in the Constitution.
Supremacy of the Quran and Sunnah:
(1) The Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) shall be the supreme law of Pakistan.
(2) The Federal Government shall be under an obligation to take steps to enforce the Shariah, to establish salat, to administer zakat, to promote amr bil ma’roof and nahi anil munkar (to prescribe what is right and to forbid what is wrong), to eradicate corruption at all levels and to provide substantial socio-economic justice, in accordance with the principles of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

Sixteenth Amendment
August 5, 1999
Article 27 of the Constitution provides safeguards against discrimination in services. In order to provide opportunity and representation to all classes of persons and areas in services. The 16th Amendment meant to increase the duration of provincial quota system from 20 years to 40 years and thus it is applicable upto 2011.

Seventeenth Amendment
December 2003

This amendment made many changes to the Constitution. Many of these changes dealt with the office of the President and the reversal of the effects of the 13th Amendment.

Important points of this amendment are:
President Musharraf’s Legal Framework Order (LFO) was largely incorporated into the constitution, with a few changes.

Article 63(1)(d) of the Constitution to become operative after December 31, 2004. The intent of this was to prohibit a person from holding both a political office (such as that of the President) and an “office of profit” – an office that is typically held by a career government servant, civil or military – such as the office of the Chief of Army Staff. Although this was supposed to separate the two types of office, a loophole – “.. other than an office declared by law ..” – allowed Parliament to pass an ordinary law later in 2004 – permitting the President to hold on to the office of Chief of the Army Staff, an option that President Musharraf then exercised.
Should the President win a majority in a vote of confidence in the electoral college within 30 days of the passage of this amendment, he shall be deemed to be elected to the office of President. (On January 1, 2004, Musharraf won 658 out of 1,170 electoral-college votes – a 56 per cent majority – and was thereby deemed to be elected president.)
The President regains the authority to dissolve the National Assembly – and thus effectively to dismiss the Prime Minister – but the power to do so is made subject to an approval or veto by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
A Governor’s power to dissolve a provincial assembly is similarly subject to Supreme Court approval or veto.
Article 152A, which dealt with the National Security Council (NSC), was annulled. (The legal basis for the NSC is now an ordinary law, the National Security Council Act of 2004.)
Ten laws had been added by the LFO to the Sixth Schedule, which is a list of “laws that are not to be altered, repealed or amended without the previous sanction of the President.” After this amendment, five of those laws will lose their Sixth Schedule protection after six years. Laws to be unprotected include four laws that established the system of democratic local governments.
(Those in favour of this change have argued that it would enable each province to evolve its own systems. Opponents fear that authoritarian provincial governments could disempower or even dismantle the system of local democracies.)Eighteenth Amendment
April 19, 2010

The 18th Amendment aimed at removing the power of the President  to dissolve the Parliament unilaterally, turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic, and renaming North-West Frontier Province to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The package is expected to counter the sweeping powers amassed by the Presidency under former Presidents General Pervez Musharraf and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and to ease political instability in Pakistan. The ‘historic’ bill reverses many infringements on Constitution  over several decades by its military rulers.

Omission of clause (b) of article 58:
Dissolution of the National Assembly.
(1) The President shall dissolve the National Assembly if so advised by the Prime Minister; and the National Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, stand dissolved at the expiration of 48 hours after the Prime Minister has so advised.
(2)  The President may also dissolve the National Assembly in his discretion where, a vote of no-confidence having been passed against the Prime Minister, no other member of the National Assembly commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, as ascertained in a session of the National Assembly summoned for the purpose.

270AA. Declaration and continuance of laws, etc:
(l) The Proclamation of Emergency on October 14, 1999, the Provisional Constitution Order No.1 of 1999, the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000 (No.1 of 2000), Chief Executive’s Order No. 12 of 2002, Chief Executive’s Order No. 19 of 2002, the amendments made in the Constitution through the Legal Framework Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 24 of 2002), the Legal Framework (Amendment) Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 29 of 2002) and the Legal Framework (Second Amendment) Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 32 of 2002), are declared as having been made without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

All other laws including President’s Orders, Acts, Ordinances, Chief Executive’s Orders, regulations, enactments, notifications, rules, orders or bye-laws made between October 12, 1999, and October 31, 2003, continue to be in force until altered, repealed or amended by the competent authority.

By: Dr Najam us Sahar Butt (CSP)

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