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Overview of Article 218 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, serves as the foundational legal document for the country. Within its comprehensive framework, Article 218 stands out as a pivotal provision, specifically addressing the establishment and functions of the Election Commission. This article plays a crucial role in shaping the democratic process in Pakistan, ensuring the integrity and fairness of elections.
Article 218 States
218. Election Commission
- For the purpose of election to both Houses of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), Provincial Assemblies and for election to such other public offices as may be specified by law, a permanent Election Commission shall be constituted in accordance with this Article.
- The Election Commission shall consist of-
- the Commissioner who shall be the Chairman of the Commission; and
- four members, one from each Province, each of whom shall be a person who has been a judge of a High Court or has been a senior civil servant or is a technocrat and is not more than sixty-five years of age, to be appointed by the President in the manner provided for appointment of the Commissioner in clauses (2A) and (2B) or Article 213.
Explanation:– “senior civil servant” and “technocrat” shall have the same meaning as given in clause (2) or Article 213.
- It shall be the duty of the Election Commission to organize and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against.
Key Points of Article 218 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Composition: The Election Commission is composed of a Chairman, referred to as the Commissioner, and four members representing each province. The President appoints these members, each possessing qualifications such as being a judge of a High Court, a senior civil servant, or a technocrat.
- Duties: The core responsibility of the Election Commission, as per Article 218, is to organize and conduct elections. The Commission must make necessary arrangements to ensure the honesty, justice, and fairness of the electoral process, actively guarding against corrupt practices.
- Age Limit: Article 218 stipulates that members of the Election Commission, including the Commissioner, should not be more than sixty-five years of age, emphasizing the need for a dynamic and competent team overseeing the electoral proceedings.
Crux of Article 218 of the Constitution of Pakistan
At its core, Article 218 represents the Pakistani constitutional pledge to upholding democratic ideals through free and fair elections. By creating a permanent Election Commission with defined qualifications and responsibilities of its members, Article 218 seeks to safeguard democratic processes against potential malpractices and protect democratic principles.
The emphasis on the appointment of individuals with judicial, administrative, or technocratic backgrounds ensures a diverse skill set within the Election Commission. This diversity contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the legal, administrative, and technological aspects vital for conducting smooth elections.
Conclusion: Article 218 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 218 of Pakistan’s Constitution plays an instrumental role in shaping its democratic landscape. By providing an outline for establishing and running of an Election Commission, this provision ensures that electoral processes remain at the core of democratic governance in Pakistan.
Article 218 stands as a constitutional safeguard of free and fair elections, embodying Pakistan’s commitment to democratic principles and rule of law. By selecting Commission members carefully and delineating their responsibilities clearly, Article 218 strengthens electoral processes as a whole and strengthens public trust in democratic institutions of Pakistan.