Table of Contents
Overview of Article 156 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Established in 1973, Pakistan’s Constitution forms its legal foundation and serves as its basis of economic governance. At its heart lies Article 156 which establishes the National Economic Council (NEC). This strategic advisory body serves to oversee financial, commercial, social and economic policies affecting Pakistan as well as provide advice. Furthermore, this article details its structure, functions and responsibilities which provide insight into Pakistan’s economic trajectory.
Article 156 States
156. National Economic Council
- The President shall constituted a National Economic Council which shall consist of-
- the Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairman of the Council;
- the Chief Ministers and one member from each Province to be nominated by the Chief Minister; and
- four other members as the Prime Minister may nominate from time to time.
- The National Economic Council shall review the overall condition of the country and shall, for advising the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments, forumulate plans in respect of financial, commercial, social and economic policies; and in formulating such plans it shall, amongst other factors, ensure balanced development and regional equity and shall also be guided by the Principles of Policty set out in Chapter 2 of Part-II.
- The meetings of the Council shall be summoned by the Chairman or on a requisition made by one-half of the members of the Council.
- The Coucil shall meet at least twice in a year and the quorum for a meeting of the Council shall be one-half of its total membership.
- The Council shall be responsible to the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and shall submit an Annual Report to each House of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).
Key Points of Article 156 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Functions of the NEC (Clause 2): The NEC’s mandate extends beyond a mere advisory role. It is entrusted with the crucial responsibility of reviewing the nation’s overall condition and formulating plans related to financial, commercial, social, and economic policies. The article emphasizes the NEC’s role in ensuring balanced development and regional equity, guided by the constitutional Principles of Policy outlined in Chapter 2 of Part II.
- Meeting Procedures (Clause 3): The Chairman, typically the Prime Minister, has the authority to summon NEC meetings. Additionally, a unique provision allows for a meeting to be requisitioned by one-half of the members, fostering a collaborative and responsive decision-making environment.
- Frequency of Meetings (Clause 4): The NEC’s proactive approach is evident in the requirement for at least two meetings annually. A quorum of one-half of its total membership ensures active participation, promoting thorough discussions and informed decision-making.
- Accountability and Reporting (Clause 5): A cornerstone of constitutional governance, the NEC is directly accountable to the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), the legislative backbone of Pakistan. The NEC is obligated to submit an Annual Report to each House of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), contributing to transparency and fostering a sense of responsibility.
Crux of Article 156 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 156 encapsulates the essence of inclusive economic governance in Pakistan. The creation of the NEC signifies a commitment to collaborative decision-making, bringing together key leaders from the federal and provincial levels. The NEC’s overarching goal is to ensure the holistic development of the country, taking into account regional disparities and aligning policies with constitutional principles.
Conclusion: Article 156 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 156 emerges as a beacon of economic governance within the constitutional framework of Pakistan. The NEC, as established by this article, symbolizes a commitment to informed, inclusive, and transparent economic decision-making. By incorporating representatives from provinces and facilitating regular meetings, the NEC addresses the diverse economic landscape of Pakistan.
As Pakistan navigates the complexities of economic development, Article 156 stands as a testament to the nation’s commitment to balanced growth and regional equity. Through the NEC, the country aims to not only formulate effective policies but also to ensure that these policies align with constitutional principles and contribute to the overall well-being of its citizens.
In essence, Article 156 not only outlines the structure and functions of the NEC but also exemplifies Pakistan’s constitutional vision for a prosperous and inclusive economic future. The NEC, guided by the principles laid out in the 1973 Constitution, represents a key mechanism for steering the nation toward economic stability, sustainability, and equitable development.