Table of Contents
Overview of Article 58 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of Pakistan, adopted in 1973, serves as the cornerstone of Pakistani legal and governance systems. Article 58 in particular plays a central role, outlining conditions under which the President can dissolve National Assembly. This provision provides democratic processes with an orderly transition of power between democratic administrations. In this blog post we shall take an in-depth look at Article 58 highlighting its essential components as well as how it helps maintain democratic equilibrium within Pakistan.
Article 58 States
58. Dissolution of the National Assembly:
- The President shall dissolve the National Assembly if so advised by the Prime Minister; and the National Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, stand dissolved at the expiration of forty-eight hours after the Prime Minister has so advised.
Explanation: Reference in this Article to “Prime Minister” shall not be construed to include reference to a Prime Minister against whom a notice of a resolution for a note of no-confidence has been given in the National Assembly but has not been voted upon or against whom such a resolution has been passed or who is continuing in office after his resignation or after the dissolution of the National Assembly.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (2) or Article 48, the President may dissolve the National Assembly in his discretion where, a vote of no-confidence having been passed against the Prime Minister, no other member of the National Assembly commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, as ascertained in a session of the National Assembly summoned for the purpose.
Key Points of Article 58 of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Dissolution on Prime Minister’s Advice: Article 58(1) states that, on advice of the Prime Minister, President can dissolve the National Assembly after a 48-hours waiting period has lapsed. This provision highlights executive authority as an initiator for dissolution.
- Exclusion of No-Confidence: Article 58(1) provides an explanation that clarifies that when speaking of “Prime Minister”, any Prime Minister against whom notice of a resolution for vote of no confidence was filed but never passed is excluded, including continuing in office after resignation or dissolution of National Assembly by President; such instances do not fall within his purview to dissolve National Assembly. This explanation delineates specific situations in which President has no power to dissolve National Assembly.
- Dissolution at the President’s Discretion: Article 58(2) grants the President discretionary powers to dissolve the National Assembly under certain circumstances. For example, if a vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister and no other member commands majority support within the National Assembly is passed against, then this dissolution can take place after its results have been ascertained in an assembly session called specifically for that purpose.
Crux of Article 58 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 58 serves as an essential link between the executive and legislative branches of government, providing a framework for dissolving the National Assembly in times of need, and safeguarding a seamless transfer of power when required. However, its provisions also contain safeguards to limit abuses of this power.
The President holds the power to dissolve the National Assembly under certain circumstances and with procedural safeguards in place. While the Prime Minister can recommend dissolution, his authority is restricted by a waiting period of 48 hours which allows time for reflection and due process. Furthermore, dissolution cannot occur where unresolved votes of no-confidence exist, or continued service after resignation or dissolution has taken place – further safeguards exist to provide checks and balances against such drastic steps being taken against lawmakers who remain serving after resignation or dissolution has taken place.
Article 58 plays an essential role in maintaining democratic governance and stability. It ensures that Presidents do not exert unbridled power to dissolve National Assemblies, upholding democratic principles and rule of law principles.
Conclusion: Article 58 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 58 of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution forms an essential cornerstone of democratic governance. It sets out conditions and procedures for dissolving the National Assembly to facilitate smooth power transition while upholding democratic principles and safeguards.
As Pakistan continues its democratic journey, Article 58 remains a central factor in shaping political and legislative processes across the nation. It symbolizes Pakistan’s dedication to democratic principles, rule of law, responsible exercise of power by executive and presidential branch officials, peaceful transfer of power transfers as well as stability for continued democracy growth in Pakistan.