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Overview of Article 232 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, established in 1973, serves as the fundamental legal document governing the country. Within its provisions lies Article 232, a crucial component outlining the procedures and powers associated with the proclamation of a state of emergency. Article 232 serves as a vital tool for the government to address severe threats to the security of Pakistan, both from internal disturbances and external aggressions.
Article 232 States
232. Proclamation of emergency on account of war, internal disturbance, etc
- If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists in which the security of Pakistan, or any part thereof, is threatened by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond the power of a Provincial Government to control, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency:
Provided that for imposition of emergency due to internal disturbances beyond the powers of a Provincial Government to control, a Resolution from the Provincial Assembly of that Province shall be required:
Provided further that if the President acts on his own, the Proclamation of Emergency shall be placed before both Houses of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) for approval by each House within ten days.
- Notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in force,
- Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall have power to make laws for a Province, or any part thereof, with respect to any matter not enumerated in the Federal Legislative List or the Concurrent Legislative List;
- the executive authority of the Federation shall extend to the giving of directions to a Province as to the manner in which the executive authority of the Province is to be exercised, and
- the Federal Government may by Order assume to itself, or direct the Governor of a Province to assume on behalf of the Federal Government, all or any of the functions of the Government of the Province, and all or any of the powers vested in, or exercisable by, any body or authority in the Province other than the Provincial Assembly, and make such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the Federal Government to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to the objects of the Proclamation, including provisions for suspending, in whole or in part, the operation of any provisions of the Constitution relating to any body or authority in the province:
Provided that nothing in paragraph (c) shall authorize the Federal Government to assume to itself, or direct the Governor of the Province to assume on its behalf, any of the powers vested in or exercisable by a High Court, or to suspend either in whole or in part the operation of any provisions of the Constitution relating to High Courts.
- The power of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) to make laws for a Province with respect to any matter shall include power to make laws conferring powers and imposing duties, or authorizing the conferring of powers and the imposition of duties upon the Federation, or officers and authorities of the Federation, as respects that matter.
- Nothing in this Article shall restrict the power of a Provincial Assembly to make any law which under the Constitution it has power to make but if any provision of a Provincial law is repugnant to any provision of an Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) which Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has under this Article power to make, the Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), whether passed before or after the Provincial law, shall prevail and the Provincial law shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, but so long only as the Act of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) continues to have effect, be void.
- A law made by Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), which Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) would not but for the issue of a Proclamation of Emergency have been competent to make, shall, to the extent of the incompetency, cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of six months after the Proclamation of Emergency has ceased to be in force, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before the expiration of the said period.
- While a Proclamation of Emergency is in force, Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) may by law extend the term of the National Assembly for a period not exceeding one year and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to be in force.
- A Proclamation of Emergency shall be laid before a joint sitting which shall be summoned by the President to meet within thirty days of the Proclamation being issued and,
- shall cease to be in force at the expiration of two months unless before the expiration of that period it has been approved by a resolution of the joint sitting; and
- shall, subject to the provisions of paragraph (a), cease to be in force upon a resolution disapproving the Proclamation being passed by the votes of the majority of the total memberships of the two Houses in joint sitting.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (7), if the National Assembly stands dissolved at the time when a Proclamation of Emergency is issued, the Proclamation shall continue in force for a period of four months but, if a general election to the Assembly is not held before the expiration of that period, it shall cease to be in force at the expiration of that period unless it has earlier been approved by a resolution of the Senate.
Key Points of Article 232 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Proclamation of Emergency: The President, when satisfied that a significant threat exists, can issue a Proclamation of Emergency.
- Approval Process: Approval from the Provincial Assembly is required for emergencies arising from internal disturbances beyond provincial control. If the President acts independently, parliamentary approval is necessary within ten days.
- Powers During Emergency: Parliament gains expanded powers, including the ability to make laws for a province, direct the exercise of provincial executive authority, and assume or direct the assumption of provincial government functions.
- Limitations on Federal Power: The Federal Government cannot assume powers vested in or exercisable by a High Court, nor can it suspend certain constitutional provisions related to High Courts.
- Legislative Powers: Parliament can legislate for a province during an emergency, including conferring powers and imposing duties on the Federation.
- Conflict Resolution: In the event of a conflict between provincial and parliamentary laws, the latter prevails.
- Duration of Emergency Laws: Laws enacted by Parliament during an emergency cease to have effect six months after the emergency ends, except for actions taken before that period.
- Extension of National Assembly Term: Parliament can extend the term of the National Assembly during an emergency.
- Approval and Termination of Emergency: The proclamation must be laid before a joint sitting of both houses and will cease to be in force if not approved within two months. If the National Assembly is dissolved, the emergency continues for four months, subject to Senate approval if a general election is not held.
Crux of Article 232 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 232 serves as a constitutional mechanism to address crises threatening the security of Pakistan. It outlines the process, powers, and limitations associated with the proclamation of an emergency, ensuring a balance between federal and provincial authorities. By granting Parliament and the Federal Government expanded powers during emergencies, the Constitution aims to provide an effective response to grave threats while maintaining a system of checks and balances.
Conclusion: Article 232 of the Constitution of Pakistan
In conclusion, Article 232 of the Constitution of Pakistan is a pivotal element that empowers the government to navigate crises effectively. Balancing the need for decisive action with the imperative of safeguarding constitutional principles, this article reflects the foresight of the framers of the 1973 constitution. Understanding its provisions is essential for grasping the constitutional framework that guides Pakistan through times of emergency, ensuring the nation’s security while upholding democratic values.
Understanding Article 232 is crucial for comprehending the constitutional dynamics that come into play during times of turmoil. It exemplifies the commitment to democratic values and constitutionalism, demonstrating that even in emergencies, the Constitution remains a guiding beacon for the nation.