Ending Dictatorship: Pakistan's Eighteenth Amendment

By Yang, Catherine | Harvard International Review, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

Ending Dictatorship: Pakistan's Eighteenth Amendment


Yang, Catherine, Harvard International Review


Unanimity rarely occurs in legislatures worldwide--even rarer, then, would it be to have two simultaneous unanimous votes. The 18th amendment to Pakistan's constitution thus carries the unusual distinction of being approved by all 292 members of the Pakistani National Assembly and all 90 senators of the Senate, on April 8 and 16 respectively, before President Asif Ali Zardari signed it into law on April 19. However, the total agreement in voting is merely an interesting aside. The passage of the amendment has drastic ramifications upon future presidential power, and significantly changes the Pakistani political landscape.

What constitutes an acceptable extent and usage of presidential power has long been a particularly controversial question in Pakistan. Former president Pervez Musharraf sought and wielded centralized executive power to his advantage, sowing resentment among others in the government. In November of 2007, when the Pakistani Supreme Court was preparing to rule on the legality of Musharraf's October election victory and decide if he could run for re-election while holding the position of army chief, he proclaimed a state of emergency, suspended the constitution, and fired more than 50 judges. He justified the act by stating that the judiciary was weakening Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts by ill-informed decisions, such as its orders to release prisoners. Later, he claimed that the Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, was illegally trying to remove him from office. Most believed, however, that Musharraf was only doing what he could to prevent any possible challenges to his authority and continue on as president. The entire affair left behind an atmosphere of bitterness.

President Zardari has been much more open to revisions in presidential power, now implemented by the 18th amendment. The role of chief executive has been transferred from the president to the prime minister, turning the president into a ceremonial head of state. The president must follow more stringent requirements dictating when he must confer with the prime minister on given decisions. Authority has devolved to the provinces, allowing provincial assemblies to draft their own laws on various issues ranging from marriage to bankruptcy. The executive branch has greater difficulty in circumventing the legislative process thanks to the provisions of the new amendment. The Pakistani president no longer has the power to dissolve the General Assembly or appoint heads of the armed forces and judges. This last provision directly relates to Musharraf's actions in 2007--the power of appointment has now been handed over from the president to the parliament.

"Today it is the victory of democracy," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said after the second vote, expressing the elation many have felt around the country at the amendment's passing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ending Dictatorship: Pakistan's Eighteenth Amendment
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.