Government of Pakistan
حکومتِ پاکستان
TypeFederal government
Formation14 August 1947; 76 years ago (1947-08-14)
Current constitution1973 Pakistani Constitution
Country Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Seat of governmentIslamabad
Official languages
WebsiteOfficial Website
Legislative branch
Upper houseSenate
Upper House Presiding officerChairman of the Senate
Lower houseNational Assembly
Lower House Presiding officerSpeaker of the National Assembly
Meeting placeParliament House
Executive branch
Head of statePresident of Pakistan
Head of governmentPrime Minister of Pakistan
Principal organCabinet
Meeting placeCabinet Secretariat
Responsible toParliament
Judicial branch
CourtSupreme Court of Pakistan
Chief judgeChief Justice of Pakistan

The Government of Pakistan[a] (Urdu: حکومتِ پاکستان, abbreviated as GoP), constitutionally known as the Federal Government,[b] commonly known as the Centre,[c] is the national authority of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a federal republic located in South Asia, consisting of four provinces and one federal territory. The territories of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir are also part of the country but have separate systems and are not part of the federation.[d]

Under the Constitution, there are three primary branches of a government: the legislative, whose powers are vested in a bicameral Parliament; the executive, consisting of the President, aided by the Cabinet which is headed by the Prime Minister; and the judiciary, with the Supreme Court.[1]

Effecting the Westminster system for governing the state, the government is mainly composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, in which all powers are vested by the Constitution in the Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court.[2] The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts and amendments of the Parliament, including the creation of executive institutions, departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.[2] By constitutional powers, the President promulgates ordinances and passes bills.

The President acts as the ceremonial figurehead while the people-elected Prime Minister acts as the Chief Executive (of the executive branch) and is responsible for running the federal government. There is a bicameral Parliament with the National Assembly as a Lower house and the Senate as an upper house. The most influential officials in the Government of Pakistan are considered to be the Federal Secretaries, who are the highest ranking bureaucrats in the country and run cabinet-level ministries and divisions. The judicial branch systematically contains an apex Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court, High courts of five provinces, district, anti-terrorism, and the green courts; all inferior to the Supreme Court.[2]

The full name of the country is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. No other name appears in the Constitution, and this is the name that appears on money, in treaties, and in legal cases. The "Pakistan Government" or "Government of Pakistan" are often used in official documents representing the federal government collectively.[2] Also, the terms "Federal" and "National" in government institutions or program names generally indicate affiliation with the federal government. As the seat of government is in Islamabad, "Islamabad" is commonly used as a metonym for the federal government.[2][3][4]

Federal law and Constitution

The Constitution of Pakistan established and constituted the federal government of four provinces of federation of nation-state, known as State of Pakistan. The Constitution reads as:

The Federal Government is Subject to the Constitution. The executive authority of the Federation shall be exercised in the name of the President by the Federal Government, consisting of the Prime Minister and the (Federal) Ministers, which shall act through the Prime Minister, who shall be the chief executive of the Federation.
In the performance of his functions under the Constitution, the Prime Minister may act either directly or through the (Federal) Ministers.

— Constitution of Pakistan: Part III: The Federation of Pakistan— Chapter 3: The Federal Government, Article 196–197, source[5]

The basic civil and criminal laws governing the citizens of Pakistan are set down in major parliamentary legislation (a term inherited from the United Kingdom), such as the Exit Control List, the Pakistan Penal Code, and the Frontier Crimes Regulations. By the Article 246th and Article 247th to the constitution, the Islamic Jirga (or Panchayat) system has become an institution for local governance.[6][7] The 1950s reforms in the government administration, the constitutional law and jurisprudence in Pakistan have been greatly influenced by the United States Of America ' legal system. Since the 1970s, the traditional jirga-based law has also been in place in a few areas, and has influenced the country's judicial development.[8][9]

Branches of government

Legislative branch

Main article: Parliament of Pakistan

The legislative branch has two houses, which combined are known as the Parliament of Pakistan

The Parliament enjoys parliamentary supremacy. All the Cabinet ministers as well as the Prime Minister must be members of Parliament (MPs), according to the constitution. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers are jointly accountable to the Parliament. If there is a policy failure or lapse on the part of the government, all the members of the cabinet are jointly responsible. If a vote of no confidence is passed against the government, then the government collapses and a new one must be formed.

Executive branch

By general definition, the executive branch of government is the one that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the republican idea of the separation of powers. The separation of powers system is designed to distribute authority away from the executive branch – an attempt to preserve individual liberty in response to tyrannical leadership throughout history.

Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Prime Minister of Pakistan (Urdu: وزیراعظم; lit: 'Wazir-e- Azam), is the executive head of government of Pakistan, constitutionally designated as the Chief Executive (CE).[10] Popularly elected by direct elections in the parliament, the Prime minister is responsible for appointing a cabinet as well as running the government operations.[10]

The Prime Minister makes key appointments on various important positions, including;

The Cabinet can have a maximum of 11 percent (50 members including the Prime Minister) of the total strength of the Parliament.[11] Each Cabinet member must be a member of Parliament (MP).[12] The Cabinet Ministers chair the Cabinet and are further assisted by the Cabinet Secretary of Pakistan, whose appointment comes from the Civil Services of Pakistan. Other Ministers are Ministers of State, junior members who report directly to one of the Cabinet Ministers, often overseeing a specific aspect of government.[12]

Once appointed by the Prime Minister, all Cabinet Ministers are officially confirmed to their appointment offices by the President in a special oath of ceremony.[12][13]

The President of Pakistan, officially the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is the ceremonial head of state of Pakistan and the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces.[14][15]

The office of president was created upon the proclamation of Islamic Republic on 23 March 1956. The then serving governor-general, Major-General Iskander Mirza, assumed office as the first president. Following the 1958 coup d'etat, the office of prime minister was abolished, leaving the Presidency as the most powerful office in the country. This position was further strengthened when the 1962 Constitution was adopted. It turned Pakistan into a Presidential Republic, giving all executive powers to the president. In 1973, the new Constitution established Parliamentary democracy and reduced president's role to a ceremonial one. Nevertheless, the military takeover in 1977 reversed the changes. The 8th Amendment turned Pakistan into a semi-presidential republic and in the period between 1985 and 2010, the executive power was shared by president and prime minister. The 18th Amendment in 2010 restored Parliamentary Democracy in the country, and reduced presidency to a ceremonial position.[16]

The constitution prohibits the president from directly running the government.[17] Instead, the executive power is exercised on his behalf by the prime minister who keeps him informed on all matters of internal and foreign policy, as well as all legislative proposals.[18] The Constitution however, vests the president with the powers of granting pardons, reprieves, and the control over the military; however, all appointments at higher commands of the military must be made by the President on a "required and necessary" basis, upon consultation and approval from the prime minister.[19]

The president is indirectly elected by the Electoral College for a five-year term. The Constitution requires the president to be a "Muslim of not less than forty five (45) years of age". The president resides in an estate in Islamabad known as Aiwan-e-Sadar (President's House). In his absence, the chairman of Senate exercises the responsibilities of the post, until the actual president resumes office, or the next office holder is elected.

There have been a total of 13 presidents. The first president was Iskander Ali Mirza who entered office on 23 March 1956. The current office holder is Asif Ali Zardari, who took charge on 10 March 2024, following his victory in the 2023 elections.[20]

Judicial branch

Main article: Judiciary of Pakistan

Pakistan's independent judicial system began under the British Raj, and its concepts and procedures resemble those of Anglo-Saxon countries. Institutional and judicial procedures were later changed, in 1950s, under the influence of American legal system to remove the fundamental rights problems.[6] The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Provincial High Courts, District Courts, Anti-terrorism courts, Sharia courts, and Environmental courts all over the country; Supreme Court being the superior court.[2] The Supreme Court of Pakistan consists of a Chief Justice, and Senior Justices appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The Constitution does not fix the number of justices of the Supreme Court, though it can be fixed by Parliament through an act signed by the President.[21]

Judicature transfer

The Constitution grants powers to the Supreme Court to make judicature transfers.[21] Although the proceedings in the Supreme Court arise out of the judgement or orders made by the subordinate courts, the Supreme Court reserves the right to transfer any case, appeal or proceedings pending before any High Court to any other High Court.[21]

Supreme Judicial Council

Misconduct of judges is highly intolerable as is mentioned in the constitution. Under the mainframe of the Supreme Judicial Council Article 209 an inquiry into the capacity or conduct of a Judge, who is a member of the council, may be conducted.

Civil service

Main articles: Central Superior Services and Pakistan Administrative Service

The civil service of Pakistan is the permanent bureaucracy of the Government of Pakistan. The civil servants are the permanent officials of the government, occupying a respected image in the civil society. Civil servants come from different cadres (e.g. Pakistan Administrative Service, Police Service of Pakistan etc.) after passing the CSS examinations. Not all the employees of the Government of Pakistan are civil servants; other employees of the Government of Pakistan come from the scientific institutions, state-owned corporations and commissioned military science circles.

In the parliamentary democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the elected representatives of the people who are the ministers. These ministers are accountable to the legislatures which are also elected by the people on the basis of universal adult suffrage. The cabinet and its ministers are expected to lay down the policy guidelines, and the civil servants are responsible for implementing and enforcing it.

Federal secretaries

Main article: Federal Secretary

The federal secretaries are the most senior, experienced, and capable officials in the country. Each ministry/division has its Secretary to oversee and enforce the public policy matters.

The secretaries, who are basic pay scale (BPS)-22 grade officers, are largely considered to be the most powerful officials in the country.[22][23] Due to the importance of their respective assignments, there are twelve specific federal secretaries which are considered to be the most vital in the Government of Pakistan. These include the Secretary Establishment (responsible for civil service matters), Secretary Commerce (responsible for trade), Secretary Cabinet (responsible for Cabinet Division), Secretary to the Prime Minister (responsible for Prime Minister's Office), Secretary Interior (responsible for law and order), Secretary Finance (responsible for the country's treasury), Secretary Foreign Affairs (responsible for foreign relations), Secretary Maritime Affairs (responsible for ports and shipping), Secretary Power (responsible for the electricity and power sector), Secretary Planning and Development (responsible for development projects), Secretary Petroleum (responsible for the petroleum sector) and Secretary Industries (responsible for industrial development).[24][25]

Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordination of activities of the various Ministries in such situations are the functions of the Cabinet Division. Appointment for the chairman of the FPSC, the prestigious body responsible for the recruitment of elite bureaucrats, is made by the President after consulting the Prime Minister, according to Article 242 of the Constitution.[26]

Elections and voting system

Main articles: Elections in Pakistan, Politics of Pakistan, and Election Commission of Pakistan

Since 1947, Pakistan has an asymmetric federal government, with elected officials at the national (federal), provincial, tribal, and local levels. Constitution has set the limit of government for five years, but if a Vote of no confidence movements takes place in the parliament (and prelude of movements are proved at the Judicial branch), the government falls and immediately replaced with caretaker government initiated by the president (consultation of Prime Minister also required to make such move), in regards to Article 58 of the constitution.[27]

There has been four times that the martial law has been in effect, and controversially approved by the supreme court.[12] Through a general election where the leader of the majority winning party is selected to be the Prime Minister.[12] All members of the federal legislature, the Parliament, are directly elected. Elections in Pakistan take place every five years by universal adult suffrage.[12]

Administration and governments

Provincial and Local governments

Main articles: List of provincial governments of Pakistan, Local government in Pakistan, and Administrative units of Pakistan

There are four provincial governments that rule the four provinces of the state. The Chief Minister heads the provincial government. All provincial assemblies are unicameral, elected for five years.[28] The Governors appointed by President after consulting the Prime minister, act only as representatives of federal government in the province and do not have any part in running the government.

The provincial governments tend to have the greatest influence over most Pakistanis' daily lives. The Local government functions at the basic level.[29] It is the third level of government, consisting Jirga in rural tribal areas.[30]


Main articles: State Bank of Pakistan, National Bank of Pakistan, and Pakistan Remittance Initiative

Taxation and budget

Main articles: Taxation in Pakistan, Tax on cash withdrawal, and Foreign trade of Pakistan

Pakistan has a complex taxation system of more than 70 unique taxes administered by at least 37 tax collection institutions of the Government of Pakistan.[31] Taxation is a debated and controversial issue in public and political science circle of the country, and according to the International Development Committee, Pakistan had a lower-than-average tax take.[32] Only 0.57% of Pakistanis, or 768,000 people out of a population of 190 million pay income tax.[32]

The Finance Minister of Pakistan presents the annual federal budget in the Parliament in the midst of the year, and it has to be passed by both houses of the Parliament.[33] The budget is preceded by an economic survey which outlines the broad direction of the budget and the economic performance of the country for the outgoing financial fiscal year.[34]

National Finance Commission program overview

Main article: National Finance Commission Award

Constituted under the Article 160 of the Constitution of Pakistan by the Constitution, the National Finance Commission Award (NFC) program is a series of planned economic programs to take control of financial imbalances and equally manage the financial resources for the four provinces to meet their expenditure liabilities while alleviating the horizontal fiscal imbalances.[35]

According to stipulations and directions of the Constitution, the provisional governments and Federal government compete to get higher share of the program's revenues in order to stabilize their own financial status.[36]

Ministries and divisions

Main articles: List of federal agencies of Pakistan and Cabinet of Pakistan

Ministries of the Federal Government of Pakistan [37]
 Federal Ministerial Departments   Ministerial Divisions   Creation 
1 Cabinet Secretariat

Aviation Division

Cabinet Division
Establishment Division
National Security Division
Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division
2 Climate Change Climate Change Division
3 Commerce Commerce Division
4 Communications Communications Division 1947
5 Defence Defence Division 1947
6 Defence Production Defence Production Division 1972
7 Economic Affairs Economic Affairs Division
8 Energy Petroleum Division
Power Division
9 Federal Education, Professional Training, National Heritage and Culture

Federal Education and Professional Training Division

National Heritage and Culture Division
10 Finance, Revenue Finance Division
Revenue Division
11 Foreign Affairs Foreign Affairs Division 1947
12 Housing and Works Housing and Works Division
13 Human Rights Human Rights Division
14 Industries and Production Industries and Production Division
15 Information and Broadcasting Information and Broadcasting Division
16 Information Technology and Telecommunication Information Technology and Telecommunication Division
17 Interior Interior Division
18 Inter-Provincial Coordination Inter-Provincial Coordination Division
19 Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Division
20 Law and Justice Law and Justice Division
21 Maritime Affairs Maritime Affairs Division
22 Narcotics Control Narcotics Control Division
23 National Food Security and Research National Food Security and Research Division
24 National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division
25 Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Division
26 Parliamentary Affairs Parliamentary Affairs Division
27 Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Division
28 Privatization Privatization Division
29 Railways Railways Division
30 Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Division
31 Science and Technology Science and Technology Division
32 States and Frontier Regions States and Frontier Regions Division
33 Water Resources Water Resources Division


Main article: List of federal agencies of Pakistan

See also


  1. ^ Urdu: حکومتِ پاکستان, romanizedHakūmat-e-Pākistān
  2. ^ Urdu: وفاقی حکومت
  3. ^ Urdu: مرکز
  4. ^ For more information, see Kashmir Conflict


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  2. ^ a b c d e f Govt. of Pakistan. "Government of Pakistan". Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Government tenure ends marking ten years of democracy in Pakistan". Geo News. Archived from the original on 7 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Here are the highest paid govt departments - The Express Tribune". 17 July 2016.
  5. ^ Constitution of Pakistan. "Part III: The Federation of Pakistan— Chapter 3: The Federal Government". Constitution of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 7 October 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Chapter 3: Tribal Areas". Chapter 3: Tribal Areas. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  7. ^ "". Archived from the original on 9 November 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
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  12. ^ a b c d e f Information and Mass-Media Broadcasting Ministry of Pakistan. "President". Information and Mass-Media Broadcasting Ministry of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
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