President Oh! President


Article 41 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan states;

“There shall be a President who shall be the head of the State and shall represent the unity of the Republic”

Our President fulfills that requirement. Even if he is sitting back in his sandal wood rocking chair and reading a book while listening to Surraya Khanum on an antique gramophone, while D-Chowk is charged by an electrified crowd protesting against the government that elected him, he is the President who is the head of the State representing the unity of the Republic. Silent on the critical situation prevailing in the country, he still is the head of this chaos stricken State.

According to Article 46;

The Prime Minister is under obligation to keep the President informed on all matters of internal and foreign policy. I just can’t imagine Mr. Nawaz Sharif visiting the Presidency or even calling the President to inform him on how he plans to deal with the ongoing rallies and protests. He may have informed his sons – or even his butler – on matters of internal policy more than he did the President. Seeking his advice is absolutely out of the question as not even the Constitution provides for any such consultation.

Article 48 (1) states:

“In exercise of his functions, the President shall act on and in accordance with the advice of the cabinet or the Prime Minister…”

Meaning thereby that in all of his functions, the President is obliged, and it is mandatory for him, to adhere to the advice given to him by the Prime Minister or his cabinet. So he doesn’t need to think much anyways. For even if he does think once in a while and asks the PM or cabinet to reconsider, he is still bound to act on their advice after such reconsideration.

This makes me wonder if Article 46 has any practical implication at all. Even if the Prime Minister takes the trouble to inform the President on his internal or foreign policy, it would be a waste of time as there is no role of the President in altering such policy and decisions are to be made by the Prime Minister and his cabinet.

So what is the role of our President in the current crisis?

Practically none. It would have been just as effective and practicable if the Parliament had elected a lamp to be our President. The contribution would be the same, only less costly to the national exchequer and the lamp would not have come to see the Prime Minister off to his car on the rare occasion when he visited.

So the few of you who are looking for the President, don’t. You don’t need to care about him, and apparently he doesn’t need to care about you.


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