- The Parliament of Pakistan, according to the Constitution of 1973, is bi-cameral. Article 50 of the Constitution clearly states that the Parliament of Pakistan consists of the President and two Houses known as the National Assembly and the Senate.
The President is the constitutional head of the state. The office of president represents the unity of federation and conducts its functions with utmost impartiality and neutrality. Elected for five years, by both houses of parliament and of the four Provincial Assemblies, the president is entitled to the highest respect and esteem by all the functionaries of the state. The president resides in presidency named “Aiwan-e-Sadar” in Federal Capital Islamabad. In his absence, the Chairman Senate takes over as the Acting President until the President resumes office, or the election of the next President is held.
Powers of the President
- All the legislation made by the parliament need assent of the president of Pakistan before coming into force.
- The president of Pakistan makes some most important appointments on advice of the Prime Minister; appointment of the chief justice, chiefs of the armed forces and chairman joint chief of staff committee.
- The constitution of Pakistan empowers the president to grant pardon to the convicts on recommendation of the executive or judiciary.
- 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.
- On advice of the Prime Minister, the President appoints governors in the provinces as the representatives of the federation.
- On advice of the Prime Minster the President can dissolve the national assembly.
Procedure for Presidential Elections
In Pakistan, the Second Schedule of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan provides for an election for the President of Pakistan . According to this, one month before the expiration of the Presidential tenure, it is the responsibility of the ECP to hold and conduct elections for the office of the President. The Chief Election Commissioner serves as the Returning Officer for such an election. Similarly, the ECP appoints Presiding Officers to preside over the meeting of the members of Parliament and at the meetings of the members of the provincial assemblies.
The Chief Election Commissioner fixes by public notification the time and place for submission of nomination papers, holding a scrutiny, making withdrawals, if any, and holding the poll, if necessary. Any member of Parliament or of a provincial assembly may nominate a person qualified for the post by delivering to the Presiding Officer a nomination paper, signed by themself as proposer and by another member of Parliament or, as the case may be, Assembly as seconder, together with a statement signed by the person nominated that he consents to the nomination.
After scrutiny, the Chief Election Commissioner announces, by public notification, the names of the persons validly nominated to be hereinafter called the candidate(s). In Pakistan, according to Article 41 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the President’s electoral college consists of members of both Houses (Senate and National Assembly) and members of the provincial assemblies. The respective Presiding Officers conduct the poll at the meetings of Parliament and of each provincial assembly. The poll is held by secret ballot containing the names of all the candidates in alphabetical order. Member persons vote by placing a mark against the name of the person for whom they wish to vote.
After the poll, the Chief Election Commissioner determines the result of the election in the following manner:
(a) The number of votes cast in Parliament in favour of each candidate are counted;
(b) The number of votes cast in a provincial assembly in favour of each candidate are multiplied by the total number of seats in the provincial assembly for the timebeing having the smallest number of seats and divided by the total number of seats in the provincial assembly in which the votes have been cast. The vote is counted using the following formula:
No of votes obtained by candidate in PA × the lowest No in PAs (65 being lowest)
Total members of relevant provincial assembly
In this formula, each province has an equal proportion of vote in the President’s electoral college. It means that each member of the Punjab Assembly has 65/371 = 0.175 votes, each member of the Sindh Assembly has 65/168 = 0.387 votes, each member of the KP Assembly has 65/124 = 0.524 votes and each member of the Balochistan Assembly has 65/65 = 1 vote.
(c) The number of votes calculated in the manner referred to in clause (b) shall be added to the number of votes counted under clause (a). The candidate who has obtained the largest number of votes compiled in the manner specified above is declared by the Chief Election Commissioner to be elected.