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AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF 1973

AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF 1973, THIRTEENTH The Thirteenth Amendment to the constitution was passed by the two houses of the Majlis-e-Shoora-the National Assembly and the Senate-at midnight, on 2 April 1997 It was signed by the president on 3 April, and published in the official gazette on 4 April The Thirteenth Amendment took away most of the powers that had been given to the president by the Eighth Amendment, including the power to dismiss the prime minister and dissolve the National Assembly This power, given to the president by Article 582(b) of the Constitution, was used four times by the persons occupying this position: in May 1988 by President Zia ul-Haq against Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo; in August 1990 by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to dismiss Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; in April 1993 by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; and finally in November 1996 by President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari to dismiss Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Nawaz Sharif, back as prime minister with a large majority, was anxious to take these powers away from the president Sharif moved secretly and with dispatch The Senate and the National Assembly suspended the rules of business under which each operates in order to move the amendment quickly through the two houses After the bill was passed-it had the full backing of the opposition-Prime Minister Sharif flew to Choti, the ancestral village of Farooq Leghari, to inform the president of the action taken The president did not object to the move and agreed to sign the bill as soon as it was presented to him



The constitutionality of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments was challenged in the Supreme Court, and on 1 December 1997, Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah ordered the suspension of the Thirteenth Amendment For a few hours-and at a time when the conflict between the president and the prime minister had reached the point at which it was clear that there could be no resolution if the two feuding leaders stayed in their positions-the president had the authority to dismiss the prime minister He chose not to use the restored power and announced his own resignation Following the president’s resignation, 10 judges of the Supreme Court removed Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah from office See also ARTICLE 582(B) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF 1973; JUDGES’ CASE

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