Highlights of the 18th Constitutional Amendment

Posted by Raza Rumi

* Amendment to Article 6 seeks to pre-empt military coups in future
* Article 58(2b) to be repealed, substituted with ‘Dissolution of National Assembly’
* President may dissolve NA in case no-confidence vote passed against PM
* Total strength of cabinet should not exceed 11% of total membership of parliament
* Governor should be a resident and registered voter of his/her province, he/she would be appointed by president on prime minister’s advice
* Provinces required by law to establish local government systems, devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to elected representatives
* PM to be chairperson of CCI, members to include CMs, 3 members from federal govt
* Amendment to Article 157 says federal government must consult provincial government before installing hydroelectric power stations in any province
* PM to forward three names for office of CEC, in consultation with opposition leader in National Assembly, to a parliamentary committee for confirmation
* Committee proposes insertion of Article 175(a) to deal with appointment of judges to Supreme Court, high courts, Federal Shariat Court
* Committee proposes substitution of Article 243, says federal government ‘shall have control and command of armed forces, supreme command of armed forces shall [rest with] … president’
* President to appoint Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman, chief of army staff, chief of naval staff, chief of air staff
* NWFP will be renamed ‘Khyber-Pakhtoonkhawah’
* State will provide free, compulsory education to children aged between 5 and 16 years
* Amendments to Clause 1 seek substitution of ‘Baluchistan’ with ‘Balochistan’, ‘Sind’ with ‘Sindh’
* Insertion of clause sought to bar persons acquiring citizenship of foreign country from contesting elections to parliament
* All elections under constitution, other than those of PM and CM, to be by secret ballot

Courtesy Daily Times, Pakistan

From Adil Najam’s post:

  • Reportedly the draft of what is to become the 18th Amendment itself includes 95 amendments to the 1973 Constitution. These 95 amendments will effect 70 Articles of the existing Constitutions. There are three “schedules” and one “Annexure” in the draft package.
  • In particular, the 18th Amendment will undo the impacts of the 8th Amendment (enacted by Gen. Zia ul Haq) which had altered over 90 Articles of the Constitution, and the 17th Amendment (enacted by Gen. Pervez Musharraf) which had altered 26 Articles of the Constitution.
  • The famed article 58 (2) (b), which had first been inserted into the Constitution by Gen. Zia ul Haq and allows the President to dissolve Parliament, and which was re-enacted by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has been removed from the Constitution in the draft.
  • The new name of the NWFP is to be Khyber-Pakhtunkwa. The PML-N which had long held out on this issue has reportedly agreed to this name change, although PML-Q has maintained some reservations to it as has PPP-Sherpao.
  • On the other controversial issue of the composition of the Judicial Commission, the PML-N proposal of adding a seventh member who is a retired Supreme Court Judge has been accepted.
  • The draft proposes removal of many past amendments added by military rulers, including the 17th Amendment.
  • The draft abolishes the “concurrent list” and gives much more provincial autonomy than is now available to the provinces. The Council of Common Interest has been given additional powers and the provinces have been given more say on national matters by enhancing their representation in the council.
  • Reportedly the draft “purges” the name of gen. Zia-ul-Haq as President from the Constitution (it is not yet clear what this means in practice).
  • The next step in the process is for the draft to be now presented to the National Assembly after which the Government is expected to move the 18th Amendment for Parliamentary approval. It is expected that the draft will be tabled in Parliament within the next couple of days.
  • The committee which worked on this draft for nine months includes representatives from all the political groups having representation in the two houses of parliament. It included: Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, Syed Naveed Qamar, Babar Awan, Haji Lashkari Raisani, Ishaq Dar, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi, Wasim Sajjad, S M Zafar, Humayun Saifullah, Farooq Sattar, Haider Abbass Rizvi, Ahsan Iqbal, Afrasyab Khattak, Haji Muhammad Adeel, RehmatUallah Kakar, Abdul Razaq Taheem, Mir Israr Ullah Zehri, Professor Khursheed Ahmed, Hasil Bizenjo, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Abdul Rahim Mandokhel, Shahid Bugti, Munir Khan Orakzai, and Mian Raza Rabbani.
  • The original Constitution was passed in the first PPP government, which has also been the architect of the first amendments to it.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Highlights of the 18th Constitutional Amendment

  1. Balaji

    nice. The provision that Governor shall be a resident and registered voter of the province deserves special kudos. Finally one country in South Asia is doing away with this colonial era atrocity on provinces/states.

  2. yasserlatifhamdani

    I think it is a ridiculous proposition …the governor bit. Why can’t a resident of Quetta be the Governor of Punjab?

  3. takhalus

    because there was a tradition of appointing non Balochis as Governors of Balochistan.

  4. Mustafa Shaban

    @I dont like the NWFP name change. The changing of name promotes ethnicity and provincialism . We should be united as Pakistanis. We should not be divided and fight amongst each other based on different things.

  5. Natasha

    //I think it is a ridiculous proposition …the governor bit. Why can’t a resident of Quetta be the Governor of Punjab?//

    What’s so ridiculous about it?A person representing the federation for a province must KNOW the place he’s working at.How acceptable would be a Balakoti to Lahore and how acceptable would be a Lahori to Quetta?

  6. Natasha

    Mustafa,

    Name ‘change’ does not promote ethnicity itself.It’s the ‘name’ that’s the actual issue.Khyber wouldve been okay on it’s own.

  7. yasserlatifhamdani

    Natasha,

    The governor is a nominal head of the constituent unit representing the federation and its president.

    It would make sense to have this rule – naturally – for the CM …but governor? The first governor general of Independent India was not even Indian.

    There is absolutely no logical reason for this bar. I’d like to see a Balakoti governor of Punjab.

  8. Mustafa Shaban

    @Natasha, that is what i meant..thnx for correcting.

  9. Natasha

    Yasser ,

    And you think majority thinks the way you do?
    Name a Punjabi the governor for Balochistan/Khyber/Sindh and see what happens.

    The first governor general of ‘Pakistan’ was not a foreigner.

  10. Zulfiqar Haider

    I would like to comment on the first bullet, or the amendment to the article 6 of the constitution. This is a great step forward, and would certainly protect democracy in the coming years; history is witness to such incidents, when military chiefs took over the country, and abrogated the constitution. These acts always destroyed the efforts towards democracy, and so this amendment in the article would help lift up democracy to a place where it should have been.

  11. PMA

    Yasser has a point. Chief Minister represents the will of the People of the Province, whereas Governor represents the President and the Federation. There should be no problem with ‘any’ citizen of Pakistan serving ‘anywhere’ at the will of a lawful President of the country.

    The problem starts when the Province and the Federation are heading in two different directions.

    Balochistan is still being ruled by the Nawabs, Sardars, Mirs and Khans. That lot is not interested in Pakistan or its President. Authority of the President of Pakistan reduces their hold on the people and resources of the province.

    An economic study of Balochistan will reveal that all of the natural as well as developed resources of Balochistan are in the hands of this group while the people of Balochistan remain illiterate and dirt poor.

    The problem is not where the Governor of a province should come from. The problem is the lack of common sense of direction between a Provincial and a Federal Government.

    Balochistan is still in the medieval ages. The solution of Balochistan’s problems lies in the land reform, development and removal of Nawabs – something no Federal Government of Pakistan has done so far.

  12. Samina Qaiser

    The Pakistani government introduced a constitutional bill in parliament Friday to transfer President Asif Ali Zardari’s sweeping powers to the prime minister, possibly ending months of political wrangling. The set of reforms, known as the “18th Amendment Bill,” is expected to be passed by the two-chambered parliament. After the signing of the 18th amendment, the political environment is going to change. We hope that 18th Amendment goes through smoothly; the centre of authority goes to the parliament. It was wrong to say the bill “stripped” Zardari of his powers, as he himself sought to restore the constitution to its original form without the amendments imposed by dictators.

  13. Mustafa Shaban

    @Samina: Zardari did it becuz of pressure not becuase he is a democrat, insteead he is a civilian dictator and wanted all the power from himself. Its pressure from different areas that force him to share it. Also in a parliamentary democracy, the constitution is supreme not president.

  14. Adeel

    Amendment in Article 6 rocks. this will stop any military invasion to the govt of pakistan. the new clause states that such invasion can never be ratified by any court, that is very important step towards the restoration of democracy in pakistan..

  15. Adeel

    I m realy disappointed watching all those people who r discussing non issues. these things r of no point of dispute,that whether the name of NWFP should be changed or not,or there should be the governor that belongs to the same province…
    these r not the real issues, we should find out the points that will bring any change in the current system.. and discuss them in public forums…bcz in our society what we need iz the change..
    Long Live PAKISTAN…

  16. Waheed

    In china there is a province which is named as “sankiyank” which means boundary so why they did not think to change it? N-W.F.P is universally accepted name in all the classes of peoples.

  17. SYED ABID RAZA KAZMI ADVOCATE HIGH COURT

    In my observation. that
    Constitute of judicial commission through 18th amendment in constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan against the constitution 1973.