||This article needs attention from an expert on the subject. (August 2011)|
Leader of the House
Leader of the Opposition
Aitzaz Ahsan (PPP)
since March 14, 2012
PML (N) (15)
JUI (F) (7)
PML (Q) (5)
PML (F) (1)
BNP (Awami) (4)
Length of term
|Parliament of Pakistan|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Senate (Urdu: سینیٹ, Seneṭ, IPA: [sɛneːʈ]) or the Upper House of Pakistan (Urdu: ایوانِ بالا پاکستان, Aiwān-i bālā Pākistān, IPA: [ɛːʋɑːn-e bɑːlɑ ˌpɑːkɪst̪ɑːn]) is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan. Elections are held every three years for one half of the Senate and each Senator has a term of six years. If the office of the President of Pakistan becomes vacant, or the President is unable to perform his functions, the Chairman of the Senate acts as President until a President is elected.
After Independence, the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, elected in December 1947 after partition, was assigned the task of framing the Constitution of Pakistan. This Assembly passed the Objectives Resolution on 12 March 1949, laying down principles which later became substantive part of the Constitution of Pakistan. However, before it could accomplish the task of framing the constitution, it was dissolved in October, 1954. Thereafter, the Governor General, convened the Second Constituent Assembly in May, 1955, which framed and passed the first Constitution of Pakistan on 29 February 1956. That Constitution was promulgated on 23 March 1956, which provided for a parliamentary form of Government with a unicameral legislature. However, from 14 August 1947 to 1 March 1956 the Government of India Act 1935, was retained as the Constitution of Pakistan.
On October 7, 1958, Martial Law was promulgated and the Constitution abrogated. The Military Government appointed a Constitution Commission in February, 1960 which framed the 1962 Constitution. That Constitution provided for a Presidential form of Government with a unicameral legislature. The 1962 Constitution was abrogated on 25 March 1969. The Civil Government, which came to power in December 1971 pursuant to 1970 elections, gave the nation an interim Constitution in the year 1972.
The 1970 Assembly framed the 1973 Constitution which was unanimously passed on 12 April and promulgated on 14 August 1973. The 1973 Constitution provides for a parliamentary form of Government with a bicameral legislature, comprising the National Assembly and the Senate.
The membership of the Senate, which was originally 45, was raised to 63 in 1977 and to 87 in 1985. The government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf raised the membership of the Senate from 87 to 100 through the Legal Framework Order (LFO), 2002, enforced on 21 August 2002 and the government of Asif Ali Zardari raised the membership of the Senate from 100 to 104 through the 19th amendment in 2011 (four minority members from four provinces).
Purpose and role
The main purpose for the creation of the Senate of Pakistan was to give equal representation to all the federating units since the membership of the National Assembly was based on the population of each province. Equal provincial membership in the Senate, thus, balances the provincial inequality in the National Assembly.
There are one hundred and four senatorial seats. There are 18 women Senators; Pakistani constitution requires that there be at least 17 women Senators. Members of the Senate are elected according to Article 59 of the Constitution.
President and Parliament
Under Article 50 of the Constitution, the Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament) of Pakistan consists of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the National Assembly and the Senate. The President is elected by members of both Houses of the Parliament and the Provincial Assemblies. The President may be removed from office or impeached through a resolution, passed by not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the Parliament in a joint sitting of the two Houses, convened for the purpose. The Constitution empowers the President to dissolve the National Assembly in his discretion if a situation has arisen in which the Government of the Federation cannot be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the electorate is necessary. The President in case of dissolution of National Assembly shall within fifteen days of the dissolution refer the matter to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court shall decide the reference within thirty days whose decision shall be final. However, the Senate is not subject to dissolution.
In case the office of the President becomes vacant for any reason, the Chairman, or if he is unable to perform the functions of the office of the President, the Speaker, acts as President till such time that a President is elected. Same is the case when the President by reason of absence from Pakistan or any other cause is unable to perform his functions.
Relations between the Houses
Unless both the Houses pass a Bill and it receives President's assent it cannot become a law except in the case of a money bill which is the sole prerogative of the National Assembly. Through an amendment, the role of a Mediation Committee, composed of eight members of each House, has been introduced to evolve consensus on Bills, in case there is a disagreement between the two houses.
The Constitution provides that there shall be a Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister which is collectively responsible to the National Assembly. The Prime Minister is chosen from the National Assembly. The Federal Ministers and Ministers of State are appointed from amongst the members of Parliament. However, the number of Federal Ministers and Ministers of State who are members of Senate, shall not at any time, exceed one fourth of the numbers of Federal Ministers.
(1) The Senate shall consist of 104 members, of whom:
- (a) 14 shall be elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly;
- (b) eight shall be elected by direct and free vote from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, in such manner as the President may, by Order, prescribe;
- (c) two on general seats, and one woman and one technocrat including aalim shall be elected from the Federal Capital in such manner as the President may, by Order, prescribe;
- (d) four women shall be elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly;
- (e) four technocrats including ulema shall be elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly.
- (f) one seat in the senate is reserved for minorities in each province."
(2) Election to fill seats in the Senate allocated to each Province shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
(3) The Senate shall not be subject to dissolution but the term of its members, who shall retire as follows, shall be six years:-
- (a) of the members referred to in paragraph (a) of clause (1), seven shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and seven shall retire after the expiration of the next three years.
- (b) of the members referred to in paragraph (b) of the aforesaid clause, four shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and four shall retire after the expiration of the next three years
- (c) of the members referred to in paragraph (c) of the aforesaid clause,-
- (i) one elected on general seat shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and the other one shall retire after the expiration of the next three years, and
- (ii) one elected on the seat reserved for technocrat shall retire after first three years and the one elected on the seat reserved for woman shall retire after the expiration of the next three years;
- (d) of the members referred to in paragraph (d) of the aforesaid clause, two shall retire after the expiration of the three years and two shall retire after the expiration of the next three years; and
- (e) of the members referred to in paragraph (e) of the aforesaid clause, two shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and two shall retire after the expiration of the next three years: Provided that the term of office of a person elected to fill a casual vacancy shall be the unexpired term of the member whose vacancy he has filled.
2008 party positions in Senate
2008 party position in Senate stood like this.
Seats in the Senate of Pakistan
|Political Party||Cumulative seat(s)||Graphing||Position|
|Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP)||39||In Majority|
|Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N))||15||In Minority|
|Awami National Party (ANP)||12||In Majority with PPP|
|Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)||7||In Majority with PPP|
|Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (F) (JUI-F)||7||In Majority with PPP|
|Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q)||5||In Majority with PPP|
|Balochistan National Party (BNP (A))||4||In Minority with PML (N)|
|National Party (NP)||1||In Majority with PPP|
|Pakistan Muslim League (F) (PML-F)||1||In Majority with PPP|
|Independents||11||In caucuses with PPP|
|Total Senate Seats||106|
- Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan
- List of Senators of Pakistan
- List of committees of the Senate of Pakistan
- National Assembly of Pakistan