Composition of the federal legislature in Pakistan

The composition of the federal legislature in Pakistan is great.The administrative structure of the Islamic Republic Pakistan is based on the 1973 Constitution. Under this Constitution, Pakistan has been declared a Republic with Islam as its state religion. The Constitution says that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will be a federal state constituted of the areas falling in four categories.

Federal Legislature in Pakistan
Federal Legislature in Pakistan
  • Four Provinces; the Punjab, Sind, the NWFP and Balochistan.
  • Federal Capital (Islamabad) and areas adjoining it.
  • Federally Administrated Tribal Agencies (FATA) and the Northern areas.
  • Tribal Areas adjoining the NWFP and Balochistan.

            There are five governments working in Pakistan; one federal and four provincial governments. All federal systems are based on the principle of division of powers among the federating units (Provinces) and the federal government (or the central government). Another essential component of a federation is a formula stipulating what subject are to be controlled by the centre and what subjects shall be under provincial control. Under the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan division of powers between the provinces and the center has been made on the basis of two lists;

  • Federal List:

            This list contains the subjects on which only the Federal Parliament can legislate. Important matters enumerated in this list are the following:

  • Concurrent List:

            National Parliament and Provincial Assemblies have an equal jurisdiction regarding the subjects mentioned in this list. Following are the important matters enumerated in this list:

            Health, Education, Criminal and Civil Law, Armament, Family Planning, Irrigation, Newspapers, Zakat, Tourism and Archives.

  • The Subjects not included in any of these lists are called ‘residuary subjects’. Provincial Assemblies are entitled to legislate on the subject falling in this category.


            Governments are comprised of three main organs, composition of these three organs under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is based on the following lines:

The Legislative:

Legislative means the law forming body of the state. Federal legislative of Pakistan has been named ‘Parliament’. Our Parliament is bicameral. This means that our Parliament has two houses i.e. National Assembly or the lower house and Senate or the upper house. Every piece of legislation that our parliament passes undergoes four stages before it is made a part of the statute book.

  • First of all a draft of the desired law is prepared by the law experts. This draft is called Bill. Private members can also prepare or draft Bills to be presented before the Parliament.
  • A draft is generally initiated before the lower house (National Assembly) first. The National Assembly undertakes a debate on the bill which is carried out in different stages. If the bill is passed by the National Assembly, in original or amended form, it is sent to the upper house (Senate) for approval. Any bill required the approval of ¾ of the present members of the National Assembly.
  • A bill passed by the National Assembly is again debated in different stages in the Senate. After debate, the bill may be passed in original or amended form or rejected. After the approval from both houses, that bill became part of the constitution.
  • A bill passed by the Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) is then submitted for the final approval of the President. After the approval of the President, the bill is published as law and makes a part of the statute book. President has no real authority to reject a bill passed by the Parliament. All bills except the monetary bills can be initiated in either of the two houses (National Assembly or Senate). If a bill is initiated in the Senate it will be sent to the National Assembly after the approval of the Senate, but as a matter of practice, most of the bills are first initiated in the National Assembly.

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