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President of Pakistan
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 government.
The Constitution gives the President the reserve powers - subject to Supreme Court approval or veto - to dissolve the National Assembly of Pakistan (triggering new elections) and thereby to dismiss the Prime Minister. The President also chairs the National Security Council and appoints the heads of the Army , Navy and Air Force.
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 - but made the exercise of those powers subject to Supreme Court approval or veto within 30 days. 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)
- Muhammad Ayub Khan* (October 27, 1958 - March 25, 1969)
- Yahya Khan* (March 25, 1969 - December 20, 1971)
- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (December 20, 1971 - August 13, 1973)
- Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry (13-Aug-1973 to September 16, 1978)
- Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq* (September 16, 1978 - August 17 ,1988)
- Ghulam Ishaq Khan (August 17, 1988 - July 18, 1993)
- Wasim Sajjad (July 18, 1993 - November 14, 1993)
- Farooq Leghari (November 14, 1993 - December 2, 1997)
- Wasim Sajjad (December 2, 1997 - January 1, 1998)
- Muhammad Rafiq Tarar (January 1, 1998 - June 20, 2001)
- Pervez Musharraf* (June 20, 2001 - present)
note - * denotes military leaders
- Politics of Pakistan
- Category:Presidents of Pakistan
- Prime Minister of Pakistan
- Category:Prime Ministers of Pakistan
- Line of Succession to President of Pakistan
- Category:Chiefs of Army Staff, Pakistan
- Category:Pakistani people
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