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ARTICLE 58

ARTICLE 582(b) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF 1973 Article 582(b) was inserted into the constitution of 1973 by the Eighth Amendment, a price exacted by President Zia ul-Haq for bringing back democracy to Pakistan The amendment was passed by the National Assembly in November 1985 with little debate Once the constitution was amended, President Zia lifted martial law and democracy began its slow return Article 582(b) read as follows: “Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (2) of Article 48, the President may also dissolve the National Assembly in his discretion where in his opinion, a situation has arisen in which the Government of the Federation cannot be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and appeal to the electorate is necessary” Zia used Article 582(b) to dismiss Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, on 29 May 1988, on the grounds of incompetence and inefficiency Zia’s action was challenged by Junejo but was declared by the Supreme Court to be within Zia’s constitutional rights



The article was used again two years later by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan when he dismissed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto This happened on 6 August 1990, and Ghulam Ishaq Khan used a long list of accusations to justify the constitutionality of his action Once again, the Supreme Court went along with the presidentThe article was used for the third time on 18 April 1993 by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to send home the administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the National Assembly that supported him The charge sheet prepared by the president was similar to the one that had caused the dismissal of Benazir Bhutto This time the Supreme Court was not persuaded, however It passed a landmark judgment setting aside the president’s order and restoring both the government of Nawaz Sharif and the National Assembly By the decision in the Nawaz Sharif case, the Supreme Court gave a considerably more restricted meaning to the article than did the interpretation used by the two preceding presidents The fourth use of the article was by President Farooq Leghari when he dismissed the administration of Benazir Bhutto on 5 November 1996 As required by the constitution, new elections were held on 3 February 1997, in which Mian Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League won an overwhelming victory Sharif did not lose much time in using his massive presence in the national legislature to pass the thirteenth amendment to the constitution, the main provision of which was to repeal Article 58

2(b) This happened in March 1997, and President Farooq Leghari gave his assent to the amendment, thereby losing the power that he had used to set the stage for the return of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister However, the article reappeared in 2004, as a part of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, approved by the Parliament in 2003, to clear the way for the handover of some political authority by President (General) Pervez Musharraf to elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali See also AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF 1973, THIRTEENTH

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