The President of Pakistan is Pakistan's Head of State. At various times in history, changes in the Constitution of Pakistan have altered the powers and privileges associated with the office of the President. At present, Pakistan has a semi-presidential system of governmentHistory
In 1947 Pakistan became a dominion within the British Commonwealth with the British Monarch as head of state (reiging as "King / Queen of Pakistan"). The monarch was represented in Pakistan by a Governor-General of Pakistan. In 1956, dominion ended when Pakistan established its first constitution, and the positions of Queen and Governor-General were merged into the President.
Pakistan's first president was Iskander Mirza, who was also the last Governor General. In 1958, he abrogated the constitution and declared martial law. A few weeks later, he was overthrown in a bloodless Coup d'état by General Ayub Khan who had himself declared President. The constitution was revised, and the President became the ruler of Pakistan. The constitution also stipulated that the President be elected by the people. Elections were held in 1963, and Khan defeated the sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Fatima.
Ayub Khan continued as president until March 25, 1969, and he passed the Presidency onto Yahya Khan. Yahya Khan stepped down after the Bangladesh Liberation War (Indo-Pakistani War of 1971), and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became the new president and presided over the formation of a new Constitution. This constitution was completed in 1973, and reduced the presidency to a figurehead position, giving power to the Prime Minister. Bhutto stepped down as President and became Prime Minister, symbolizing the transition. The President was henceforth elected by legislative assembly members, not by popular vote. Popular vote would be used to directly elect the members of the National Assembly, including the Prime Minister.
In 1978, Prime Minister Bhutto was toppled by General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq who declared himself President. The presidency again became the premier position in the Pakistani government. Zia introduced the Eighth Amendment which gave reserve powers to the President's office. Zia died in 1988, and the Prime Minister's office regained leadership of the country. The Presidency retained its reserve powers until 1997, when the Thirteenth Amendment was passed.
However, the 1999 coup of General Pervez Musharraf brought executive powers back to the President's office. National and provincial elections were held in 2002. In December 2003, the Seventeenth Amendment partially restored the President's reserve powers. In January 2004, the Electoral College gave Musharraf a vote of confidence, as result of which he was (according to the Constitution) "deemed to be elected." Musharraf's term of office as president ends in 2007.
List of Presidents
NB: The head of state of Pakistan before 1956 was the King of Pakistan and before 1947 was the Emperor of India. George VI was King-Emperor until 1948 and just King until 1952 and Elizabeth II succeeded him as Queen until 1956. For the Governors-General who represented them from 1947 to 1956, see Governor-General of Pakistan.
* Iskander Mirza (March 23, 1956 to October 27, 1958)
Governors Generals of Pakistan Since Ineipendece
Last edited by Xeric; Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 12:57 AM.
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