|President of Pakistan|
since 9 September 2018
|Executive branch of the|
Government of Pakistan
Mr President (informal)
|Type||Head of state|
|Term length||Five years|
|Constituting instrument||Constitution of Pakistan|
|Precursor||Monarch of Pakistan|
|Inaugural holder||Iskander Mirza|
|Formation||23 March 1956|
|Succession||Line of succession|
|Deputy||Chairman of the Senate|
|Salary||PRs. 846,550 per month|
|Website||President of Pakistan|
The President of Pakistan (Urdu: صدرِ پاکستان, romanized: s̤adr-i Pākiṣṭān), 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.
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 the 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 the president and prime minister. The 18th Amendment in 2010 restored Parliamentary Democracy in the country, and reduced the presidency to a ceremonial position.
The constitution prohibits the president from directly running the government. 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. 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.
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 Arif Alvi, who took charge on 9 September 2018, following his victory in the 2018 elections.
Main article: List of heads of state of Pakistan
From 1947 until 1956, the governor-general of Pakistan acted for the head of state: King George VI (until 1952) and Queen Elizabeth II (from 1952). With the promulgation of the first constitution, Pakistan became an Islamic republic in 1956, and the governor-general was replaced with the presidency. The incumbent governor-general, Iskander Mirza, became Pakistan's first president. He reportedly suspended the first constitution in 1958, and appointed Army commander-in-chief General Ayub Khan as the first chief martial law administrator. Khan subsequently dismissed Mirza in order to become the president.
The second constitution introduced by President Ayub Khan turned the country into a presidential republic without direct elections. Succumbing to internal and international pressure, however, Khan held a nationwide presidential election in 1965. Khan successfully campaigned against his opponent, Fatima Jinnah, for a second term, but some have alleged that elections were rigged in favour of Khan.
Controversy regarding the U-2 incident (1960), privatization (1963), and war with India (1965), fueled a fierce left-wing opposition movement led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of the PPP and Bengali nationalist Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who, with the support of demonstrators, aimed to further weaken the presidency. Suffering from paralysis and declining health, Ayub Khan handed over the presidency to army chief General Yahya Khan, who imposed martial law and announced that national elections would be held in 1970. Eventually, general elections were held in 1970 which saw the PPP gaining a majority of seats in West Pakistan (current-day Pakistan) and the Awami League gaining a majority in East Pakistan (current-day Bangladesh).
After he was unable to reach a compromise between the PPP and the Awami League, President Yahya Khan invited Nurul Amin of the Pakistan Muslim League to become the prime minister, and also appointed him as the first vice president. The growing instigated violence against Pakistanis in East Pakistan forced President Yahya Khan to use force in order to maintain order there, which further escalated Bengali resistance (1970). Preemptive strikes against India led to another war in 1971, which freed East Pakistan and created Bangladesh.
Taking personal responsibility for the political isolation and devastation of Pakistan after the fall of East Pakistan, President Yahya Khan stepped down and ceded power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. President Bhutto created the current Constitution of Pakistan in 1973, transforming Pakistan into a parliamentary democracy, and reducing presidential powers to that of a ceremonial figurehead.
The general elections held in 1977 resulted in an atmosphere of civil unrest instigated by the right-wing alliance, the Pakistan National Alliance. The events leading to it resulted in military intervention by chief of army staff General Zia-ul-Haq and Chairman Joint Chiefs Admiral Mohammad Shariff. Suspending the Constitution in 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq took over the presidency in 1978. Zia's presidency oversaw the modern growth of far-right ideas in the country. Succumbing to domestic pressure to restore the Constitution, President Zia-ul-Haq held a referendum (1984) and called for general elections in 1985. President Zia-ul-Haq appointed Mohammad Junejo as prime minister and assumed more powers through the constitutional amendment. After dismissing Prime Minister Junejo, President Zia-ul-Haq announced that new general elections would be held, but President Zia died in a plane crash in 1988.
The general elections held in 1988 witnessed the victory of PPP in 1988 and appointed Senate chairman Ghulam Ishaq Khan to the presidency. The conflict between Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan arose in two areas regarding the issues of appointments. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan repeatedly intervened in government matters and leveled charges against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; thus dismissing Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1990. After holding general elections in 1990, Nawaz Sharif brought up an ideologically conservative government and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan unsuccessfully tried to dismiss Sharif. After a successful intervention by Supreme Court and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Shamim Allam, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tendered resignations in 1993.
Following the new elections held in 1993, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto established a strong government after appointing loyalists Farooq Leghari to the presidency. However, the corruption charges and the controversial death of Murtaza Bhutto in 1996 resulted in President Farooq Leghari dismissing Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In 1997, President Farooq Leghari could not overcome the heavy mandate bestowed on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the public in 1997. President Leghari unsuccessfully supported Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah— both of them resigned, ending the conflict between the Judiciary, the Executive, and the Parliament. After appointing Rafiq Tarar, the Parliament successfully passed constitutional amendment to decisively limit the presidency. After staging a controversial self coup in 1999, General Pervez Musharraf dismissed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Rafiq Tarar in 2001 while assuming more powers to the presidency. In January 2004, the Electoral College elected Musharraf, and as a result he was, according to the Constitution, "deemed to be elected".
President Musharraf's repeated unconstitutional intervention resulted in a standoff with the Judiciary, and declared a state of emergency in 2007, after dismissing the senior justices of the Supreme Court. Although Musharraf was elected in 2007, the constitutional legality of Musharraf's rule was found dubious. A populist constitutional movement eventually resulted in Musharraf's departure. On 22 August 2008, the electoral commission called for presidential nominations to be delivered by 26 August 2008 and for elections to be held on 6 September 2008.
After the presidential election held in 2008, Asif Ali Zardari lobbied for constitutional amendment to restore the Constitution as it was in 1973. In 2010, the Parliament unanimously and with a large majority, passed the eighteenth amendment of the constitution. It revoked the presidential powers and changed Pakistan from a semi-presidential system of government to a parliamentary republic, with great hopes of governmental stability in the future.