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The Senate of Pakistan is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Pakistan. The Constitution does not give the President of Pakistan the authority to dissolve the Senate (unlike the National Assembly). If the office of the President of Pakistan becomes vacant, or the President is unable to perform his functions, the Chairman of the Senate acts as President until a President is elected.

The Chairman of the Senate is Farooq H. Naek since 12 March, 2009.

History

After Independence, the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, elected in December 1945 in undivided India, was assigned the task of framing the Constitution of Pakistan. This Assembly passed the Objectives Resolution on 12 March, 1949, laying down principles which later became substantive part of the Constitution of Pakistan. However, before it could accomplish the task of framing the constitution, it was dissolved in October, 1954. Thereafter, the Governor General, convened the Second Constituent Assembly in May, 1955, which framed and passed the first Constitution of Pakistan on 29 February, 1956. That Constitution was promulgated on 23 March 1956, which provided for a parliamentary form of Government with a unicameral legislature. However, from 14 August 1947 to 1 March 1956 the Government of India Act 1935, was retained as the Constitution of Pakistan.

On October 7, 1958, Martial Law was promulgated and the Constitution abrogated. The Military Government appointed a Constitution Commission in February, 1960 which framed the 1962 Constitution. That Constitution provided for a Presidential form of Government with a unicameral legislature. The 1962 Constitution was abrogated on 25 March, 1969. The Civil Government, which came to power in December 1971 pursuant to 1970 elections, gave the nation an interim Constitution in the year 1972.

The 1970 Assembly framed the 1973 Constitution which was passed on 12 April and promulgated on 14 August 1973. The 1973 Constitution provides for a parliamentary form of Government with a bicameral legislature, comprising the National Assembly and the Senate.

The membership of the Senate, which was originally 45, was raised to 63 in 1977 and to 87 in 1985. The government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf raised the membership of the Senate from 87 to 100 through the Legal Framework Order (LFO), 2002, enforced on 21 August, 2002.

Purpose and role

The main purpose for the creation of the Senate of Pakistan was to give equal representation to all the federating units since the membership of the National Assembly was based on the population of each province. Equal provincial membership in the Senate, thus, balances the provincial inequality in the National Assembly.

The role of the Senate is to promote national cohesion and harmony and to alleviate fears of the smaller provinces regarding domination by any one province because of its majority, in the National Assembly.

The Senate is a body which represents the provinces and territories of the country and promotes a feeling of equality, peace and good understanding between them, which is so essential for the growth and prosperity of a nation. Thus, the Senate in Pakistan, over the years, has emerged as an essential organ and a stabilizing factor of the federation.

There are one hundred senatorial seats. There are 18 women Senators; Pakistani Law requires that there be at least 17 women Senators.

Members of the Senate are elected according to Article 59 of the Constitution.

Appointment

(1) The Senate shall consist of 100 members, of whom:
(a) 14 shall be elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly;
(b) eight shall be elected by direct and free vote from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, in such manner as the President may, by Order, prescribe;
(c) two on general seats, and one woman and one technocrat including aalim shall be elected from the Federal Capital in such manner as the President may, by Order, prescribe;
(d) four women shall be elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly;
(e) four technocrats including ulema shall be elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly."


(2) Election to fill seats in the Senate allocated to each Province shall be held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

(3) The Senate shall not be subject to dissolution but the term of its members, who shall retire as follows, shall be six years:-
(a) of the members referred to in paragraph (a) of clause (1), seven shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and seven shall retire after the expiration of the next three years.
(b) of the members referred to in paragraph (b) of the aforesaid clause, four shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and four shall retire after the expiration of the next three years;
(c) of the members referred to in paragraph (c) of the aforesaid clause,-
:(i) one elected on general seat shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and the other one shall retire after the expiration of the next three years, and
:(ii) one elected on the seat reserved for technocrat shall retire after first three years and the one elected on the seat reserved for woman shall retire after the expiration of the next three years;
(d) of the members referred to in paragraph (d) of the aforesaid clause, two shall retire after the expiration of the three years and two shall retire after the expiration of the next three years; and
(e) of the members referred to in paragraph (e) of the aforesaid clause, two shall retire after the expiration of the first three years and two shall retire after the expiration of the next three years: Provided that the term of office of a person elected to fill a casual vacancy shall be the unexpired term of the member whose vacancy he has filled.


Current party position in Senate

After the 2008 Senate elections, the current party position in Senate stands like this.

Party Number
Pakistan Peoples Party 27
Pakistan Muslim League 21
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam 10
Pakistan Muslim League 7
Muttahida Qaumi Movement 6
Awami National Party 6
FATAmarker 8
Independents 4
Jamaat-e-Islami 3
Balochistan National Party 2
National Party 2
Pakistan Muslim League 1
Jamhoori Watan Party 1
Pakistan Peoples Party 1
Pakhtun-khwa Milli Awami Party 1
Total 100


See also



References



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