Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution Act, 2003 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 December 2003, after over a year of political wrangling between supporters and opponents of Pakistani 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...

 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...


This amendment made many changes to Pakistan's constitution. Many of these changes dealt with the office of the President and the reversal of the effects of 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...

. Summarized here are brief descriptions of the major points.
  • President Musharraf's Legal Framework Order (LFO) was largely incorporated into the constitution, with a few changes.
  • Article 63(1)(d) of the Constitution to become operative after December 31, 2004. The intent of this was to prohibit a person from holding both a political office (such as that of the President) and an "office of profit
    Office of profit
    An office of profit is a term used in a number of national constitutions to refer to executive appointments. A number of countries forbid members of the legislature from accepting an office of profit under the executive as a means to secure the independence of the legislature and preserve the...

    " - an office that is typically held by a career government servant, civil or military - such as the office of the Chief of Army Staff. Although this was supposed to separate
    Separation of powers
    The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

     the two types of office, a loophole - ".. other than an office declared by law .." - allowed Parliament to pass an ordinary law later in 2004 - permitting the President to hold on to the office of Chief of Army Staff, an option that President Musharraf then exercised.
  • Should the President win a majority in a vote of confidence in the electoral college
    Electoral College of Pakistan
    The President of Pakistan is chosen by an electoral college, in Pakistan. According to article 41 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, this electoral college consists of the Senate, the National Assembly of Pakistan, and the Members of the Provincial Assemblies. Members of the National Assembly...

     within 30 days of the passage of this amendment, he shall be deemed to be elected to the office of President. (On January 1, 2004, Musharraf won 658 out of 1,170 electoral-college votes - a 56% majority - and was thereby deemed to be elected president.)
  • The President regains the authority
    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 dissolve the National Assembly
    National Assembly of Pakistan
    The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

     - and thus effectively to dismiss the Pakistani Prime Minister
    Prime Minister of Pakistan
    The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

     - but the power to do so is made subject to an approval or veto by the Supreme Court of Pakistan
    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...

  • A Governor's power to dissolve a Provincial Assembly is similarly subject to Supreme Court approval or veto.
  • Article 152A, which dealt with the National Security Council
    National Security Council of Pakistan
    The Prime minister Secretariat National Security Council is a consultative body that is chaired by the President of Pakistan and Prime minister of Pakistan. It is a principal forum that is mandated for considering national security and foreign policy matters with the senior national security...

    , was annulled. (The legal basis for the NSC is now an ordinary law, the National Security Council Act of 2004.)
  • Ten laws had been added by the LFO to the Sixth Schedule, which is a list of "laws that are not to be altered, repealed or amended without the previous sanction of the President." After this amendment, five of those laws will lose their Sixth Schedule protection after six years. Laws to be unprotected include the four laws that established the system of democratic local governments. (Those in favor of this change have argued that it would enable each province to evolve its own systems. Opponents fear that authoritarian provincial governments could disempower or even dismantle the system of local democracies.)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.