Table of Contents
Overview of Article 151 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 151 of Pakistan’s Constitution serves as an important guiding force in shaping its economic landscape. Focused on interprovincial trade, this constitutional provision finds a fine line between freedom of commerce and regulation measures designed to serve public interest. As we explore its intricate provisions and uncover their significance for building economic unity within Pakistan’s diverse society.
Article 151 States
151. Inter-Provincial trade
- Subject to clause (2), trade, commerce and intercourse throughout Pakistan shall be free.
- Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) may by law impose such restrictions on the freedom of trade, commerce or intercourse between one Province and another or within any part of Pakistan as may be required in the public interest.
- A Provincial Assembly or a Provincial Government shall not have power to-
- make any law, or take any executive action, prohibiting or restricting the entry into, or the export from, the Province of goods of any class or description, or
- impose a tax which, as between goods manufactured or produced in the Province and similar goods not so manufactured or produced, discriminates in favour of the former goods or which, in the case of goods manufactured or produced outside the Province discriminates between goods manufactured or produced in any area in Pakistan and similar goods manufactured or produced in any other area in Pakistan.
- An Act of a Provincial Assembly which imposes any reasonable restriction in the interest of public health, public order or morality, or for the purpose of protecting animals or plants from disease or preventing or alleviating any serious shortage in the Province of an essential commodity shall not, if it was made with the consent of the President, be invalid.
Key Points of Article 151 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Freedom of Inter-Provincial Trade: Article 151(1) establishes the core principle of free trade, commerce and intercourse throughout Pakistan. This principle is essential to building economic unity while permitting free movement of goods and services between provincial borders.
- Parliamentary Authority for Restrictions: Under Clause 2, Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has the authority to restrict interprovincial trade if necessary for public interests. This acknowledges the necessity of regulatory measures to address specific concerns that may arise in interprovincial trade between provinces.
- Limitations on Provincial Power: Article 151(3) places limitations on the power of Provincial Assemblies and Governments, preventing them from making laws or taking executive actions that restrict the entry or export of goods or impose discriminatory taxes.
- Exceptions for Public Interest: The fourth clause provides exceptions to the limitations, allowing Provincial Assemblies to impose reasonable restrictions in the interest of public health, public order, morality, or protecting animals, plants, or essential commodities, subject to the consent of the President.
Crux of Article 151 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 151 embodies the delicate balance between economic freedom and regulatory necessity. The crux lies in recognizing the importance of fostering economic unity and free trade while acknowledging that certain situations may require restrictions in the public interest.
This constitutional provision reflects a nuanced understanding of the diverse economic landscape of Pakistan. It recognizes that while freedom of trade is essential, there may be circumstances where regulatory measures are necessary to address specific concerns, ensuring the overall welfare of the nation.
Conclusion: Article 151 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 151 stands as a guardian of economic unity within the constitutional framework of Pakistan. Its proclamation of freedom of trade, balanced with the authority to impose necessary restrictions, reflects a pragmatic approach to economic governance.
As we unravel the key points of Article 151, it becomes evident that this constitutional provision is not just a legal directive; it is a reflection of the nation’s commitment to economic cohesion. It sets the stage for an economic environment where goods and services can flow freely across provincial borders while allowing for necessary regulatory measures to address specific concerns.