Pakistan has a Parliamentary democracy system of government. The president is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of the government.
The country has a bicameral parliament which consists of 100 seat senate and a 342 seat national assembly.
The political parties’ active in Pakistan includes:
- Pakistan People's Party (PPP)
- Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)
- Awami National Party (ANP)
- Pakistan Muslim League (PML)
- Muttahid Majlis-e-Amal (umbrella group) (MMA)
- Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)
The disputed territory of Kashmir has been the reason for three wars between Pakistan and India, the last one in 1999. The country’s political stability has been affected by periods of military rule along with corruption and confrontations between various organisations.
Pakistan was under military rule towards the end of 1999 when General Pervez Musharraf staged a coup, overthrowing the democratic government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In 2001, Musharraf named himself president. Musharraf resigned as President in 2008 because of the charges of impeachment against him. After this, a new government led by Asif Ali Zardari as the President and Yousef Raza Gilani as Prime minister was formed.
(Source: state.gov, BBC)
Regulatory environment in Pakistan
The country’s economic freedom score is 55.1 making its economy the 123rd freest in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. Pakistan ranks 24th out of 41 regional countries in the Asia–Pacific region. The country’s overall score is lower than the global and regional averages.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Pakistan is ranked 143rd on this list which indicates that the corruption levels in the public departments in the country is fairly high.
Freedom of information
Media in Pakistan is restricted. Constitutional and legal powers are used by the government to curb the freedom of media. (Source: BBC)
World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranks Pakistan at 151st rank with a score of 56.17 which indicates that media in Pakistan is restricted. (Source: rsf.org)
- Daily Jang
- The Nation
- The Frontier Post
- The News
- Daily Ausaf
- Daily Times
The court system in Pakistan:
- Supreme Court
- Provincial high courts
- Federal Islamic (or Shariat) Court
- Subordinate courts
- Special Courts and Tribunals
Supreme Court is the Apex Court and also the court of final appeal and the final arbiter of law and constitution. The Supreme Court also hears civil and criminal appeals from high courts and the Federal Shariat Court.
There are high courts in each province and a high court for Islamabad Capital Territory.
The Federal Islamic (or Shariat) Court consists of the Chief Justice and seven other Muslim judges. The judges are appointed through Judicial Commission which includes the Chief Justice of Pakistan as Chairperson, four senior judges of the Supreme Court, one former Chief Justice or a retired judge of the Supreme Court appointed by the Chairperson in consultation with the four member judges for a period of two years.
The subordinate courts are divided into:
- Civil courts
- Criminal courts
There are also other courts and tribunals for civil and criminal cases. The High Court supervises the administration of these courts.
Special Courts and Tribunals – These courts are under the supervision of the Federal Government. They function under various ministries/ departments of the government. These include:
- Special Courts (Control of Narcotics Substances)
- Banking Courts (Recovery Loans)
- Special Courts (Offences in Banks)
- Special Courts (Customs, Taxation & Anti-Smuggling)
- Income Tax Appellate Tribunal
- Environment Appellate Tribunal
- Insurance Appellate Tribunal
- Customs, Excise & Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal
- Special Judges (Central)
- Drugs Courts
- Anti- Terrorism Courts
- Accountability Courts