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Constitutions serve as the cornerstones of nation-building, setting out rights and liberties of their citizens. Pakistan’s Charter of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (1973) serves as such an outline, outlining fundamental principles and values. Article 17 is an integral component of this constitution that deals with freedom of association and the formation of political parties. Every citizen of Pakistan is granted the freedom of association or union formation; those not serving Pakistan also possessing this right may form or join political parties. However, these rights are subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law in order to maintain sovereignty, integrity, public order or morality. In this blog post we will examine Article 17 in depth in order to understand its key points and understand its profound significance in upholding democracy and assuring accountability within political parties.
Overview of Article 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 17 is an integral component of Pakistan’s Constitution, outlining freedom of association and political party formation. This clause shows Pakistan’s dedication to protecting every citizen’s right to form associations or unions and engage in political activities through parties; while acknowledging any reasonable restrictions necessary in terms of sovereignty, integrity, public order or morality.
Article 17 States
17. Freedom of Association
- Every citizen shall have the right to form associations or unions, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan, public order or morality.
- Every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan and such law shall provide that where the Federal Government declares that any political party has been formed or is operating in a manner prejudicial to the soverignty or integrity of Pakistan, the Federal Government shall, within fifeen days of such declaration, refer the matter to the Supreme Court whose decision on such reference shall be final.
- Every political party shall account for the source of its funds in accordance with law.
Right to Form Associations and Unions
Article 17 begins by affirming that every citizen shall have the right to form associations or unions. This fundamental right enables citizens to come together for various social, political, or professional purposes, promoting collective action.
Right to Form or Join Political Parties
This provision goes further to provide citizens who do not work for Pakistan with the right to form or join a political party, giving them greater participation in democratic processes while engaging in political activities that help shape an exciting political landscape.
Article 17 recognizes that the right to establish associations, unions or political parties is not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law in order to preserve sovereignty, integrity, public order or morality – acknowledging that certain circumstances may necessitate restrictions in order to safeguard national well-being.
Accountability of Political Parties
Article 17 also underscores the importance of accountability by requiring that every political party must account for the source of its funds in accordance with the law. This ensures transparency and financial integrity within political parties.
Key Points of Article 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Freedom of Association: Article 17 guarantees the right of every citizen to form associations or unions, fostering collective action and social engagement.
Political Participation: This provision encourages citizens to actively engage in political activities by forming or joining political parties, strengthening democratic processes.
Reasonable Restrictions: The Constitution recognizes that these rights may be subject to reasonable restrictions for reasons related to sovereignty, integrity, public order or morality and to ensure the wellbeing of our nation.
Accountability of Political Parties: Article 17 ensures transparency and accountability among political parties by mandating they account for their funds in accordance with applicable law.
Crux of Article 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 17 was designed to ensure citizens can exercise their right to form associations, unions and political parties freely – invoking collective action, political participation and democratic engagement while respecting reasonable restrictions necessary for safeguarding sovereignty, integrity and public order in our nation.
Conclusion: Article 17 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 17 of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution serves as a safeguard of democracy and political participation. Guaranteeing every citizen the right to form associations, unions and political parties provides collective action and democratic engagement opportunities that are accessible and inclusive for all. This article highlights Pakistan’s commitment to upholding democratic principles while acknowledging reasonable restrictions necessary to preserve sovereignty, integrity, public order and morality. Article 17 ensures transparency and accountability within the political landscape by mandating political parties to disclose the source of their funds. As Pakistan continues its path of development and progress, Article 17 remains an integral pillar in creating a just and equitable society, providing citizens with opportunities to actively engage in democratic processes while upholding accountability within political parties. It enshrines Pakistan’s commitment to democracy, citizen participation and financial integrity within political arena.