The Pakistani National Assembly (Urdu: قومی اسمبلئ پاکستان— Qaumī Asimbli'e Pākistān); is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also comprises the President of Pakistan and Senate (upper house). The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad. The National Assembly is a democratically elected body consisting of a total of 342 members who are referred to as Members of the National Assembly (MNAs), of which 272 are directly elected members and 70 reserved seats for women and religious minorities. A political party must secure 172 seats to obtain and preserve a majority.
Members are elected through the first-past-the-post system under universal adult suffrage, representing electoral districts known as National Assembly constituencies. According to the constitution, the 70 seats reserved for women and religious minorities are allocated to the political parties according to their proportional representation.
Each National Assembly is formed for a five-year term, commencing from the date of the first sitting, after which it is automatically dissolved. Currently the National Assembly can not be dissolved by the President of Pakistan, it is dissolved by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Election for 13th National Assembly was held on 18 February 2008. On March 17, 2013 13th National Assembly was dissolved on completion of its five-year term under Article 52 of the Constitution. Pakistani general election, 2013 (for the 14th National Assembly) was held on May 11, 2013. Members of 14th National Assembly took oath on June 1, 2013.
The first session of the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was held on 10 August 1947 at Sindh Assembly Building, Karachi. On 11 August 1947, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elected unanimously as the President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the National Flag was formally approved by the Assembly.
|“||... you are now a sovereign legislative body and you have got all the powers. It, therefore, places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions.||”|
|— Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his presidential address to the First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947|
The Constitution which was passed unanimously by the National Assembly in April 1973, provides a federal parliamentary system of government, with the President as the ceremonial head of the State and an elected Prime Minister as the head of the government. Under Article 50 of the Constitution the federal legislature is the bicameral Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), which comprises the President and the two Houses, the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly, Pakistan's sovereign legislative body, makes laws for the federation under powers spelled out in the Federal Legislative List and also for subjects in the Concurrent List, as given in the fourth schedule of the Constitution. Through debates, adjournment motions, question hour, and Standing Committees, the National Assembly keeps a check on the government. It ensures that the government functions within the parameters set out in the Constitution, and does not violate the people's fundamental rights. The Parliament scrutinizes public spending and exercises control of expenditure incurred by the government through the work of the relevant Standing Committees. The Public Accounts Committee has a special role to review the report of the Auditor General. Senate, the upper house of the Parliament, has equal representation from the federating units balancing the provincial inequality in the National Assembly, where the number of members is based on population of the provinces. The Senate's role is to promote national cohesion and harmony, and work as a stabilizing factor of the federation. The Senate numbers a total of 104 members who serve six-year terms which are alternated so that half the senators are up for re-election by the electoral college every three years. The National Assembly consists of 342 members. The Constitution empowers the President to dissolve the National Assembly, but the Senate is not subject to dissolution. Only the Parliament can amend the Constitution, by two-thirds majority vote separately in each House.
The Constitution of Pakistan lists a number of requirements for members of the National Assembly in Article 62.
The constitution also details a number of disqualifications in Article 63, which include mental instability, insolvency, criminal conviction and accepting dual-citizenship or relinquishing their Pakistani nationality, among others. Furthermore, an individual would stand disqualified if he or she is found to have opposed Pakistan's ideology or worked against the integrity of the country, after its establishment in 1947.
The National Assembly is elected for a five-year term on the basis of adult franchise and one person, one vote. The tenure of a Member of the National Assembly is for the duration of the House, or sooner, in case the Member dies or resigns. The tenure of the National Assembly also comes to an end if dissolved on the advice of the Prime Minister or by the President in his discretion under the Constitution. Under the 1973 Constitution, a member of Parliament may not hold the office of the Prime Minister more than twice. In the 1990s, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Shareef proposed a bill to amend the 1973 constitution to allow a Member to serve a third term as Prime Minister.
According to The Constitution
The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the National Assembly. The Speaker is assisted by the Deputy Speaker. Both officers are elected from within the ranks of the National Assembly and, by current convention, are usually members of the majority party. The election of the two officers is the first matter an incoming National Assembly deals with, as mandated by the constitution. Apart from presiding over National Assembly debates, the Speaker may also assume the duties of Acting President, if the position is vacant (in case the President as well as Chairman Senate are not available).
The life of National Assembly is divided into sessions. It had to meet for 130 days before the First Amendment passed on 8 May 1974 in the constitution of 1973. According to this Amendment, maximum duration between successive sessions was reduced to 90 days from 130 days, and there must be at least three sessions in a year. A session of the National Assembly is summoned by the President of Pakistan under Article 54(1) of the Constitution. In the summoning order the President gives the date, time and place (which is usually the Parliament House), for the National Assembly to meet. The date and time for the summoning of the National Assembly is immediately announced over Radio and Television. Generally, a copy of the summon is also sent to the Members at their home address. The National Assembly can also be summoned by the Speaker of National Assembly on a request made by at one-fourth of the total membership of the National Assembly. If the National Assembly is so requisitioned, it must be summoned within 14 days.
Article 50 of the Constitution provides that the Parliament of Pakistan shall consist of President and the two Houses known as the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly has an edge over the Senate by legislating exclusively on money matters. With exception to money Bills, however, both the Houses work together to carryout the basic work of the Parliament, i.e. law making.
The Bill relating to the Federal Legislative List can be originated in either House. If the House passed the Bill through majority vote, it shall be transmitted to the other House. If the other House passes it without amendment, it shall be presented to the President for assent.
If the Bill, transmitted to the other House, is not passed within ninety days or rejected, it shall be considered in a joint sitting to be summoned by the President on the request of the House in which the Bill was originated. If the Bill is passed in the joint sitting, with or without amendments, by the votes of majority of the members of the two Houses, it shall be presented to the President for assent.
If the Bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall assent to the Bill in not later than ten days.If it is not a Money Bill, the President may return the Bill to the Majlis-e-Shoora with a message requesting that the Bill be reconsidered and that an amendment specified in the message be considered. The Majlis-e-Shoora shall reconsider the Bill in a joint sitting.If the Bill is passed again, with or without amendment, by vote of the majority of the members present and voting, it shall be presented to the President and the President shall give his assent within ten days; failing which such assent shall be deemed to have been given.
Under the Constitution, the Parliament may also legislate for two or more Provinces by consent and request made by those Provinces. If the Federal Government proclaims State of Emergency in any province, the power to legislate about that province is vested in the Parliament. But the Bills passed by the Parliament during the State of Emergency, shall cease to be in force after the expiration of six months from the date Emergency is lifted. Nevertheless, the steps already taken under these Acts shall remain valid.
The Leader of the Opposition is the highest ranking representative of the main opposition party.
While recognizing the Committee System, the committees have been empowered to go into all matters of the ministry. A matter can be remitted to a standing committee by the Speaker or the Assembly suo moto and without moving any motion.
The committees have also been empowered to invite or summon before it any member or any other person having a special interest in relation to any matter under its consideration and may hear expert evidence and hold public hearing.
The composition of the National Assembly is specified in Article 51 of the Constitution of Pakistan. There are a total of 342 seats in the National Assembly. Of these, 272 are filled by direct elections. In addition, the Pakistani Constitution reserves 10 seats for religious minorities and 60 seats for women, to be filled by proportional representation among parties with more than 5% of the vote. As of 2006, there are 72 women members in the Assembly.
Members of the National Assembly are elected by the people in competitive multi-party elections, to be held at most five years apart on universal adult franchise. To be a member of electoral college, according to Article 62 of the Constitution, candidates must be citizens of Pakistan and not less than 18 years of age.
|#||Political Party||Votes||%||Elected seats before independents joined||Elected seats after independents joined||Reserved seats (Women)||Reserved seats (Minorities/Non-Muslims)||Total|
|1||Pakistan Muslim League (N)||14,874,104||32.77%||129||147||36||6||189|
|2||Pakistan Peoples Party||6,911,218||15.23%||73||73||8||1||42|
|4||Muttahida Qaumi Movement||2,456,153||5.41%||19||19||4||1||24|
|5||Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F)||1,461,371||3.22%||11||11||3||1||15|
|6||Pakistan Muslim League (F)||1,072,846||2.36%||5||5||1||0||6|
|8||Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party||214,631||0.47%||3||3||1||0||4|
|9||National Peoples Party||197,829||0.44%||2||2||1||0||3|
|10||Pakistan Muslim League (Q)||1,409,905||3.11%||2||2||0||0||2|
|11||Awami National Party||453,057||1.00%||2||1||0||0||2|
|12||Qaumi Watan Party (Sherpao)||46,574||0.10%||1||1||0||0||1|
|13||Pakistan Muslim League (Z)||128,510||0.28%||1||1||0||0||1|
|15||Awami Muslim League Pakistan||93,046||0.20%||1||1||0||0||1|
|16||Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan||71,175||0.16%||1||1||0||0||1|
|17||Balochistan National Party||63,979||0.14%||1||1||0||0||1|
|18||All Pakistan Muslim League||54,231||0.12%||1||1||0||0||1|
|Withheld: NA-103, NA-237; Postponed: NA-38; Re-poll ordered: NA-46; Terminated: NA-83, NA-254|
|Source: Detailed Results General Elections-2013, Reserve Seats Women, Reserve Seats Minorities|
National Assembly can be dissolved at the initiative of the Prime Minister. If dissolved, new elections are conducted for the Assembly. Article 58 of the Constitution of Pakistan deals with the dissolution of the Assembly:
58. Dissolution of the National Assembly:
Explanation: Reference in this Article to "Prime Minister" shall not be construed to include reference to a Prime Minister against whom a notice of a resolution for a note of no-confidence has been given in the National Assembly but has not been voted upon or against whom such a resolution has been passed or who is continuing in office after his resignation or after the dissolution of the National Assembly.
In the 14th Assembly, the seats have been allocated among the four provinces, federally-administered area, and capital territory of Pakistan as follows: