Country Listing

Pakistan Table of Contents



Government: Has shifted among various forms of parliamentary, military, and presidential governments in pursuit of political stability. The 1973 constitution, as amended in 1985, provides for parliamentary system with president as head of state and popularly elected prime minister as head of government. Bicameral legislature, Majlis-i-Shoora (Council of Advisors), consists of Senate (upper house) and National Assembly (lower house).

Politics: Return of democracy and open political debate after death of General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq in 1988; politics characterized by varied and volatile mix of ethnic, and regional alliances. Provincialism and ethnic rivalries continue to impede progress toward national integration. Major political parties include Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif faction), Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz (MQM), Awami National Party, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat-ul-Ulama-i-Islam (JUI), Jamiat-ul-Ulama-e-Pakistan (JUP), and Solidarity Movement (Tehrik-i-Istiqlal).

Judicial System: Supreme Court, provincial high courts, and other lesser courts exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction. Federal Shariat Court decides if a civil law is repugnant to injunctions of Islam.

Administrative Divisions: Four provinces--Balochistan, North-West Frontier Province, Punjab, Sindh; one territory--Federally Administered Tribal Areas; one capital territory--Islamabad Capital Territory; and Pakistaniadministered portion of disputed Jammu and Kashmir region--Azad (Free) Kashmir and the Northern Areas.

Foreign Relations: Member of United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Economic Cooperation Organization, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, and numerous other international organizations. Relations with United States historically close but turbulent. Acrimonious relations with India and fallout from Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-89) have been defining factors in recent foreign policy.

Data as of April 1994