Here’s a summary of the 18th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, with a brief list of all salient features and important points that explain what is 18th (eighteenth) amendment and why it is so important.
Summary/ Salient Features of the 18th Amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan
1. Protection of democracy
- Insertion of Article 6 – suspending or holding in abeyance of constitution is treason
- Imposition of emergency – approval of Provincial Government + Parliament is necessary
2. Presidential powers curtailed
- A mere ceremonial head – to act on the advice of PM
- No power to dissolve assembly – 58(2)(b) removed
- Appointment of officials – on the advice of PM (Governors, Services Chiefs, Auditor General, Attorney General, etc.)
- Legislative powers – now PM can call referendum
- The 17th Amendment and Legal Framework Order of Musharraf repealed
- The ban on third time prime ministership and chief ministership has been lifted
- The name of Gen Zia removed from the text of Constitution
3. Civil rights added
- Fair trial
- Free and compulsory education for children aged 5-16 years
- Right to information regarding all matters of public importance
- Freedom of association
4. Provincial autonomy
a. Devolution/ Concurrent list of 47 subjects removed
- Subjects are now under Federal Legislative List Part 1 (exclusive domain of federal govt – 59; some subjects were added such as public debt, higher education and research, inter-provincial coordination, etc.) and Federal Legislative List Part 2 (domain of Council of Common Interests – 17).
- Provinces vested with concurrent jurisdiction to legislate in respect of criminal law, criminal procedure and the law of evidence.
- Following ministries were devolved: Education, Health, Local government, Zakat and Ushr, Environment, Tourism, Sports, Archaeology and Culture, Minorities affairs, Population welfare, Social welfare, Women development, Youth affairs, Special initiatives, Labour and manpower
b. Expansion of 2 Special Bodies
- NEC: The supreme policy making body in the economic sphere, which reviews overall economic situation; formulate financial, commercial, and economic policies, oversee economic development; and approve five-year-plans, annual development plans and provincial development schemes above a certain financial limit. PM is the chairman, 4 CMs + 4 members, 4 members by PM.
- CCI: 18th amendment made it a functional body to resolve center-province and province-province disputes. Number of subjects increased from 8 to 18. Have to meet every 90 days. PM is the chairman, 4 CMs, 3 members by PM.
c. NFC Award
- Any subsequent NFC share may not be less than previous NFC. 7th NFC was announced in 2009 but has continued with annual extensions despite 5-year term. It gave 4 provinces 57.5pc share, out of which Punjab had 51.7pc share. Under Article 160 of the Constitution, the NFC has a four-pronged mandate on the distribution of about seven major taxes and duties, allocation of grants in aid by the centre to the provinces, borrowing powers of the federal and provincial governments and any other matter referred by the president.
d. Energy resources
- Joint ownership of natural resources, federal govt has to seek approval of provincial govt for hydro-electric projects
- Governor to be resident and voter of the same province
- To implement emergency in a province, approval of provincial govt is needed
g. Renaming of Provinces
- Baluchistan to Baloshistan, Sind to Sindh, NWFP to KP
5. Empowerment of the Parliament
- Legislation – by due process, no longer by mediation committee
- Referendum – to decide whether to hold referendum when PM suggests so
- Emergency – parliamentary approval necessary
- NEC and CCI – to be responsible to parliament
- Appointments – parliamentary committees to appoint judges (recommended by Judicial commission) and ECP members, CEC appointed through consensus of treasury and opposition benches
- Enhanced role of Senate – to increase representation of provinces by:
- Reports now submitted to Senate as well (previously it was just NA)
- Cabinet responsible to Senate as well (previously it was just NA)
- Ordinance will be passed when Senate is also not in session (previously it was just NA)
6. Appointment of judiciary
Importance of the 18th/Eighteenth Amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan
Now that you know what is 18th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, let’s see its importance.
The 18th/eighteenth amendment amended 102 articles in the Constitution of Pakistan. It is also called a mini constitution, considering how it almost changed our constitution. The importance of 18th/eighteenth amendment is that it devolved power from the centre to the provinces for the first time and created a federation in true sense.
We hope this summary list/ salient features of the 18th amendment in Pakistan Constitution was informative and useful for you.
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