SYED YUSUF RAZA GILANI,Prime Minister of Pakistan


The Prime Minister of Pakistan (Urdu: وزیر اعظم Wazir-e- Azam meaning “Grand Minister”), is the Head of Government of Pakistan.

The Prime Minister is elected by the National Assembly, members of which are elected by popular vote. Most commonly, the leader of the party or coalition with the most votes becomes the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is responsible for appointing a cabinet. The President has the constitutional reserve power to remove the Prime Minister, through a dissolution of the National Assembly, triggering new elections. The Seventeenth Amendment imposed a check on this power, making it subject to Supreme Court approval or veto.

The office of Prime Minister did not exist during three periods of Pakistan’s history, a circumstance different from a vacancy in the office, as a result of the dismissal of an individual Prime Minister by the President. In the first two cases, Pakistan had no Prime Minister from October 7, 1958 until July 3, 1972, and from July 5, 1977 until March 24, 1985– periods of martial law. During these periods, the President, who was the chief martial law administrator, effectively had the powers of Prime Minister as the head of government, without the title of Prime Minister. In the third case, after Pervez Musharraf‘s coup, Pakistan did not have a Prime Minister from October 12, 1999 to November 20, 2002. During this time, Musharraf, holding the office of Chief Executive, was effectively the Head of Government.

Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani is the currently 26th Prime Minister of Pakistan.



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The office of Prime Minister was created when Pakistan gained independence in 1947. Originally, the Prime Minister was given executive powers, which were later reduced as the power of the Governor-General grew. The office was discontinued in 1958 and revived in 1973. The power of the Prime Minister’s office peaked in the late 1990s, with the removal of institutional check and balances, and the passage of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The first Prime Minister of Pakistan was Liaquat Ali Khan who was appointed to the position by the first Governor-General, Muhammmad Ali Jinnah. The office of Prime Minister continued until 1958. Many Prime Ministers were removed by the Head of State. In 1958 martial law was declared by Iskander Mirza, and the office of Prime Minister essentially disappeared until 1973. In 1973 a new constitution was written giving the Prime Minister executive power once again, and making Pakistan a Parliamentary system. The architect of that constitution, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, became the Prime Minister.

However, Bhutto was overthrown in 1977, and martial law declared again, with the office of Prime Minister being suspended until 1985 when Muhammad Khan Junejo was appointed by the newly elected National Assembly. This election also brought the eighth amendment to the 1973 constitution, and gave the President powers that balanced those of the Prime Minister. The President was now able to dismiss the Prime Minister and the National Assembly (effectively calling for new elections) without prior consultation with the Prime Minister.

In 1988, Benazir Bhutto was elected as Prime Minister, becoming the first female head of government to be democratically elected in a Muslim country.

From 1990 onwards, the offices of President and Prime Minister would clash, with the President dissolving the National Assembly, and thus dismissing the Prime Minister a total of three times until 1996, with new elections each time. After the coup of Pervez Musharraf in 1999, Musharraf assumed the role of Chief Executive, and was the sole ruler of Pakistan. In October 2002, general elections were held, with no party gaining a majority of the popular vote or National Assembly of Pakistan. A new Prime Minister was appointed after much political wrangling, Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), a pro-Musharraf political party.

In December 2003, the National Assembly passed the Seventeenth Amendment, partially restoring the power of the President to dissolve the National Assembly (and thus dismiss the Prime Minister), but making the dissolution subject to Supreme Court approval.

Jamali resigned on June 26, 2004. Interim prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain nominated the Finance minister, former Citibank Vice-President Shaukat Aziz, to the post. Aziz was elected Prime Minister on August 28, 2004, by a vote of 191 to 151 in the National Assembly.



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