Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution Act, 1997 was an amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan. Known as the Constitution of 1973, it was drafted by the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and, following additions by the opposition parties, was approved by the legislative assembly on April 10, 1973...

 passed in 1997, during the government of Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani conservative politician and steel magnate who served as 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993, and from February 1997 to October 12, 1999...

, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
The Pakistan Muslim League is a conservative political party in Pakistan, affiliated with Western conservatism...

 party. It subjected Members of Parliament to very strict party discipline
Party discipline
Party discipline is the ability of a parliamentary group of a political party to get its members to support the policies of their party leadership. In liberal democracies, it usually refers to the control that party leaders have over its legislature...

. Party leaders received unlimited power to dismiss any of their legislators from Parliament if they spoke or voted against their party.

Since Nawaz' party had an overwhelming majority in Parliament, the Fourteenth Amendment effectively prevented the Prime Minister from being dismissed by a no confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

 vote. A few months earlier, the Thirteenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The XIII Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was a short-time amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, adopted by the elected Parliament of Pakistan in 1997 by the government of people elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif...

 took away the President
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

's reserve power
Reserve power
In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the head of state without the approval of another branch of the government. Unlike a presidential system of government, the head of state is generally constrained by the cabinet or the...

 to remove a Prime Minister by dissolving Parliament and calling new elections. The amendments removed nearly all checks and balances on the Prime Minister's power, since there was virtually no way he could be legally dismissed.

In Pakistan, once legislators are elected to national or provincial assemblies, there is no way for the people to recall
Recall election
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended...

 them before the end of their five-year terms. In the past, this has contributed to a sense of immunity on the part of members of the ruling party, and to rampant corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 among leading politicians. The Fourteenth Amendment increased this perception, and contributed to the overwhelming popular support for General Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

's coup in 1999. The Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court is the apex court in Pakistan's judicial hierarchy, the final arbiter of legal and constitutional disputes. The Supreme Court has a permanent seat in Islamabad. It has number of Branch Registries where cases are heard. It has a number of de jure powers which are outlined in the...

subsequently validated the coup on the grounds that the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments created a situation for which there was no constitutional remedy.
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