How important is the constitution in Pakistan
Pakistan - Law overview
Below you will find an overview of researching legal texts on Pakistan on the Internet (as of January 2019). The overview is intended to facilitate the entry into the search for legal texts, but does not replace the independent examination of the currentness, validity and correctness of the laws. Please also note that official translations of legal texts are only available in rare cases.
Search for legal texts
On the website of the National Assembly of Pakistan, you can use the search function or under “Legislative Business” to search for laws or amendments to legislation (“Acts of Parliament”). The laws passed by Parliament are published in the form of notices in the Official Gazette ("The Gazette of Pakistan"). The most recent amendments can usually be found here:
The Pakistan Code is a website operated by the Pakistani Ministry of Justice that publishes official versions of federal legislation in Urdu and English. The database offers both a search function and overviews of the laws in alphabetical or chronological order or divided into categories. At the current time (as of January 2019), the website is only accessible with interruptions, but it is possible to access some of the legal texts via the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/web/). In these cases it is advisable to download the PDF versions of the documents in order to be able to view the entire legal text:
On the Refworld database operated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), English-language translations of some legal texts can be found using a search query:
- Refworld: Search query for Pakistan, filter by National Legislative Bodies
Some Pakistani legal texts can be found on Natlex, a portal of the International Labor Organization:
To go to the compilation of national laws for Pakistan on ecoi.net, please follow this link.
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) legislation
The German Foreign Office (AA) writes the following in an overview of the state structure and domestic policy of Pakistan (as of June 2018) about the long-standing special position and the changing legislation in the so-called tribal areas under federal administration (FATA) :
"Pakistan is a federal state with the four provinces Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North West Frontier Province / NWFP) as well as the" Federally Administered Tribal Areas "(FATA). In these FATA tribal areas, according to the Pakistani constitution, the laws passed by parliament only apply if the President explicitly orders it. However, on May 24, 2018, after years of debate, the Pakistani National Assembly amended Pakistan's constitution in favor of the incorporation of the FATA areas into the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP). It is now allowed to incorporate the special areas into the neighboring province of KP and to renew the previous FATA structures. This should happen in the next few years. "(AA, June 2018)
The Pakistani daily Dawn reported in October 2018 that the groundbreaking merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), previously regulated by one and a half centuries old colonial laws, the so-called Frontier Crimes Regulations, with the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was made through a constitutional amendment. The transition process is still ongoing:
"The landmark merger of Fata and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas with KP [Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa] took place through a constitutional amendment in the last days of the five-year term of the PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League] government that ended on May 31. The process of transition is still under progress which is now being monitored by the PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] government.
Following the landmark merger of Fata with KP, the provincial government established the offices of deputy commissioner and assistant commissioners by introducing the status of sub-division and districts in the tribal areas which were previously governed under one-and-a-half century old colonial laws called Frontier Crimes Regulations. ” (Dawn, October 13, 2018)
As early as March 2017, the Indian daily Hindustantimes reported on the plans to integrate the tribal areas under federal administration into the neighboring province. According to the article, the duration of the integration process is set for five years:
"The merger would be completed over five years and funds will be allocated for a 10-year development package for the region. Courts will be set up and infrastructure will be created in the region. " (Hindustantimes, March 2, 2017)
Information on the 25th amendment to the Constitution is available on the Federal Tribal Areas website operated by the Pakistani government. The 25th amendment to the Constitution, which provides for the integration of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, represents a paradigm shift Constitution has been repealed. Now that it is part of the province, executive powers will be shifted to the provincial prime minister and his cabinet. The incorporated areas would no longer have a special status. All provincial laws should apply equally to these areas and the former FATA should be adequately represented in the provincial assembly. Political decision-making powers are shifted to the grassroots level and issues of local importance should be clarified by representatives of the local bodies. The centuries-old Frontier Crimes Regulation is no longer applicable and is being replaced by an interim government regulation ("Interim Governance Regulation"). The tribal people will have basic rights that are guaranteed by the constitution and that have been withheld from them up to now. The introduction and existence of the criminal and judicial system will guarantee their fundamental rights like those of the other citizens of the country:
"25th Constituutional Amendment
25th Constitiutional amendment like 18th Constitutional amendment which resulted in abolition of concurrent list and devolved 47 subjects to provinces, is a paradigm shift where under Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) stand integrated with and merged in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
2 The executive authority previously exercised by the Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in respect of FATA under Article 247 of the constitution has been done away with. Now being part of the province, the executive authority is shifted to the Chief Minister and his cabinet. The Merged Areas have no longer special status or dispensation. All provincial laws shall equally be applicable to these areas and on mainstreaming of erstwhile FATA due representation (about 16 general seats) shall be given in the Provincial Assembly.
3 Local self-government which could not get roots in the tribal areas due to its peculiar status and nature of governance, will be introduced in the areas at par with the rest of the province. The Political Authority will be devolved to the grass root level and issues of local level to be resolved by the local bodies representatives.
4 The colonial legacy in the form of political administration under the unbridled powers of political agent is no longer there. The office is re-named as Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner. Similarly, the century old FCR [Frontier Crimes Regulation] is no more in the field and replaced with Interim Governance Regulation. The tribal people will have fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and of which they were deprived till now. The introduction and presence of criminal and judicial system will ensure their fundamental rights like other citizens of the rest of the Country. " (FATA, undated)
The aforementioned 25th amendment to the Pakistani Constitution was published in June 2018 in the Gazette of Pakistan and is available on the website of the Pakistani National Assembly:
In April 2018, a law was passed that allows the federal government to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Peshawar to include federally administered tribal areas (FATA). According to the announcement in the Pakistani Official Gazette, the law will come into effect in the tribal areas under federal administration or parts thereof depending on the announcement by the federal government:
An English version of the Pakistani constitution including amendments until May 2018 can be found on the website pakistani.org:
An official, English-language version of the Pakistani constitution from 1973, with amendments until March 2017, is available on The Pakistan Code, operated by the Pakistani Ministry of Justice:
Another amendment to the Constitution, the already mentioned 25th, was announced in the Official Gazette ("The Gazette of Pakistan") in June 2018 and is available on the website of the Pakistani National Assembly:
The Citizenship Act from 1951 including the last amendment from 2000 can be found on Refworld:
Information on obtaining Pakistani citizenship, including for Afghan refugees born in Pakistan, can be found in the following query response from ACCORD dated December 2018:
- ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: Query response on Pakistan: Obtaining citizenship; Citizenship by birth; Citizenship for Afghan Refugees [a-10821], December 13, 2018
An official English language version of the Pakistani Criminal Code of 1860, with amendments including that of February 2017, is available on The Pakistan Code, operated by the Pakistani Ministry of Justice:
Another amendment to the Pakistani Penal Code was made through the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2018. This was published in The Gazette of Pakistan in May 2018 and is available on the website of the Pakistani National Assembly:
Code of Criminal Procedure
On the website The Pakistan Code operated by the Pakistani Ministry of Justice you can find the code of criminal procedure including the amendments until February 2017:
Another amendment to the Pakistani Code of Criminal Procedure followed through the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2018. This was published in May 2018 in the official gazette ("The Gazette of Pakistan") and is available on the website of the Pakistani National Assembly:
(Access to all links on January 31, 2019)
ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: ecoi.net Pakistan law overview, January 2019
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- Austrian Center for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD)
ecoi.net is operated by the Austrian Red Cross (ACCORD department) in cooperation with the Asylum & Migration information network. ecoi.net is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Caritas Austria. ecoi.net is ideally supported by ECRE and UNHCR.
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