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Constitutions form the cornerstone of their legal systems, outlining citizens’ rights and liberties as laid out in their documents. Pakistan has its Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 as a guide document that upholds these rights and principles; Article 18 in particular addresses freedom of trade, business and profession – guaranteeing each citizen their right to enter any lawful profession or occupation, conduct lawful trade or business transactions subject to any qualifications stipulated by law and participate in trade union activities subject to qualifications prescribed by law.
We will explore Article 18’s key points and discover its profound importance in protecting economic freedom while upholding economic liberty while uphold regulating necessary economic regulations. In this blog post we will delve into Article 18’s significance in upholding economic freedom while uphold regulatory constraints simultaneously.
Overview of Article 18 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 18 is an integral component of Pakistan’s Constitution, emphasizing freedom of trade, business, and profession. This right is protected as long as they meet certain legal criteria outlined by law.
Article 18 States
18. Freedom of trade, business or profession.
Subject to such qualifications, if any, as may be prescribed by law, every citizen shall have the right to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation, and to conduct any lawful trade or business:
Provided that nothing in this Article shall prevent:-
- the regulation of any trade or profession by a licensing system; or
- the regulation of trade, commerce or industry in the interest of free competition therein; or
- the carrying on, by the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, or by a corporation controlled by any such Government, of any trade, business, industry or service, to the exclusion, complete or partial, of other persons.
Right to Engage in Lawful Professions
Article 18 begins by affirming that every citizen shall have the right to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation. This fundamental right enables individuals to pursue their chosen professions and occupations freely.
Right to Conduct Lawful Trade or Business
The provision goes further to grant citizens the right to conduct any lawful trade or business. This ensures that individuals can engage in entrepreneurial activities and contribute to the nation’s economic growth and development.
Subject to Qualifications Prescribed by Law
This article acknowledges the right of citizens to pursue professions, occupations, trade and business activities within the limits set by law, but recognizes any necessary qualifications set by the government in order to uphold public order and safeguard society’s well-being.
Exceptions for Regulation
Article 18 further stipulates that nothing in this Article prevents the regulation of trade, commerce, industry or professions through licensing systems or in the interest of free competition. Furthermore, it authorizes governments at either federal or provincial levels, or corporations controlled by them to engage in commerce, business, industry or services to the exclusion, complete or partial, of others under certain circumstances.
Key Points of Article 18 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Economic Freedom: Article 18 guarantees every citizen the right to engage in lawful professions, occupations, trade, and business, fostering economic freedom and individual entrepreneurship.
Government Regulation: The provision recognizes the necessity of government regulation and control to maintain public order and protect the well-being of society.
Exceptions for Regulation: It allows for the regulation of trade, commerce, industry, or professions by licensing systems and the operation of certain businesses by the government or government-controlled corporations.
Crux of Article 18 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 18’s purpose is to empower citizens and promote economic freedom and entrepreneurship while at the same time acknowledging government regulation as necessary to maintain public order and safeguard society’s wellbeing.
Conclusion: Article 18 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 18 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, stands as a guardian of economic freedom and individual entrepreneurship. It guarantees the right of every citizen to pursue lawful professions, occupations, trade, and business, fostering economic growth and development. This article underscores Pakistan’s commitment to upholding the principles of economic freedom while allowing for necessary government regulations to maintain public order and protect the well-being of society. As Pakistan continues on its path of development and progress, Article 18 remains a cornerstone in building a just and equitable society, empowering its citizens to engage in economic activities while ensuring that necessary regulations are in place for the greater good of the nation. It reflects Pakistan’s commitment to economic growth and individual entrepreneurship within a regulated framework.