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Prime Minister of Pakistan

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Prime Minister of the
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
وزیر اعظم
Flag of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.svg
Standard of the Prime Minister of Pakistan
Mian Nawaz Sharif.jpg
Nawaz Sharif

since 5 June 2013
Style His Excellency
Residence Prime Minister's House
Appointer National Assembly of Pakistan
Term length Five years; Expires with the dissolution of the Nation Assembly
Inaugural holder Liaquat Ali Khan
Formation 14 August 1947; 67 years ago (1947-08-14)
State emblem of Pakistan.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The Prime Minister of Pakistan (Urdu: وَزِیرِ اَعظَم‎ — Wazīr-ē Aʿẓam, Urdu pronunciation: [ʋəˈziːr-ˌeː ˈɑː.zəm]; lit. "Grand Vizier"), is the head of government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's chief executive.[1] By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government, where the Prime Minister is the executive authority and political leader of the country and presides over the Cabinet. Nawaz Sharif is the current Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister is elected by the people-elected National Assembly of Pakistan, 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, taking and authorising executive decisions, appointments and recommendations that require executive confirmation of the Prime Minister.[1] The 17th Amendment imposed a check on this power, making it subject to Supreme Court approval or veto. However, in 2010, the 185th Amendment was reversed and is replaced with more effective 18th Amendment to the Constitution, clearly turning Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary democratic republic.[2]

The office of Prime Minister did not exist during three periods of Pakistan's history, a circumstance different from a vacancy in the office, as a result of the dismissal of an individual Prime Minister by the President or by Martial law. In the first two cases, Pakistan had no Prime Minister from 7 October 1958 until 3 July 1972, and from 5 July 1977 until 24 March 1985— periods of martial law in Pakistan. During these periods, the President, who was the chief martial law administrator, effectively had the powers of Prime Minister as the head of government, without the title of Prime Minister. In the third case, after Pervez Musharraf's coup, Pakistan did not have a Prime Minister from 12 October 1999 to 20 November 2002. During this time, Musharraf, holding the office of Chief Executive, was effectively the head of government.


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.[3] 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.[4][5] However, the office was disbanded by President Iskandar Mirza and, in a coup d'état 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.[5][6] 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 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 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.[7]

Pakistan's first Prime Minister, Nawabzadah Liaquat Ali Khan.

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.[8][9] 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.[9][8] In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was elected as Prime Minister, becoming the first female head of government to be democratically elected in a Muslim country.[10]

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, Nawaz Sharif became Prime minister who would later, through Parliament, drafted and passed 13th and 14th Amendments. With these Amendments, Sharif became country's strongest Prime minister in the history of Pakistan since 1947.[11] 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.[12] A new Prime Minister was appointed after much political wrangling, Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), a pro-Musharraf political party.[13]

In December 2003, the National Assembly passed the 17th 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 of Pakistan's approval.[14]

Jamali resigned on 26 June 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 28 August 2004, by a vote of 191 to 151 in the National Assembly.[15] 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.[14] 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.[16] More and more support to suspend the semi-presidential system began to take place in successive years which Musharraf continued to deny. 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.[2]


On 19 June 2012, Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani on charges of not obeying court orders and for not reopening the graft charges against President Asif Ali Zardari. The Pakistan Peoples Party is to choose a new Prime Minister in place of Gillani. [17]

On 20 June 2012, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominated Makhdoom Shahbuddin as the new PM.[18] The decision was made in a meeting under the chairmanship of President Asif Ali Zardari. After the Anti-Narcotics Force issued non-bailable arrest warrant against Makhdoom Shahbuddin, the Pakistan People's Party nominated Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as the party's candidate for the office of the Prime Minister.[19] Pakistan Muslim League (N) nominated the Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbassi as the opposition candidate for the Prime Minister's office.

On 22 June 2012, the National Assembly of Pakistan elected Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as the country's 17th Prime Minister of Pakistan.[20][21]

On 15 January 2013, Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of PM Raja Pervez Ashraf and 15 others over corruption allegations, raising fears of a political crisis just months ahead of an election. Critics labelled him "Raja Rental" because of the kickbacks he is alleged to have taken – he has consistently denied these claims and left the water and power post in 2011. [22]

List of Prime Ministers of Pakistan[edit]

Prime Minister's Secretariat

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Prime minister". BBC News. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan" (PDF). National Assembly of Pakistan. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Mughal, M Yakub. "Special Edition (Liaqat Ali Khan)". The News International. Daily Jang. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Constitution of 1956". Story of Pakistan. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Nagendra Kr. Singh (2003). Encyclopaedia of Bangladesh. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-81-261-1390-3. 
  6. ^ "The Constitution of 1962". Story of Pakistan. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Constitution of Pakistan". Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Pakistan, Zia and after. Abhinav Publications. 1989. pp. 20–35. ISBN 978-81-7017-253-6. 
  9. ^ a b Rafiq Dossani (2005). Prospects for Peace in South Asia. Stanford University Press. pp. 46–50. ISBN 978-0-8047-5085-1. 
  10. ^ "Benazir Bhutto Becomes Prime Minister". Story of Pakistan. 1 June 2003. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  11. ^ Akbar, M.K. "Pakistan Under Navaz Sharif". Pakistan Today. New Delhi, India: Mittal Publications. p. 230. ISBN 81-7099-700-3. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Pakistan after the coup: Special report". BBC News. 12 Oct 2000. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Zafarullah Khan Jamali profile from BBC". BBC News. 26 Jun 2004. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Seventeenth Amendment 2003". Story of Pakistan. 1 June 2004. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Shaukat Aziz profile from BBC". BBC News. 19 Aug 2004. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Yousaf Raza Gillani profile from BBC". BBC News. 19 Jun 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "Pak SC disqualifies Gilani; new PM to be selected soon". Hindustan Times. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Pakistan Peoples Party nominates Makhdoom Shahbuddin as new PM". The Times of India. 20 June 2012. 
  19. ^ Nabi, Muhammad (22 June 2012). "Raja Pervez Ashraf nominated new Prime Minister of Pakistan". Business Recorder. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "Raja Pervez Ashraf declared new Pakistani PM". The Dawn. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "PPP nominates Raja Pervez Ashraf as new Pakistan PM". The Times of India. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  22. ^ "Pakistan Supreme Court orders arrest of PM Raja Pervez Ashraf". BBC. 15 January 2013. 

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