Seventeenth Amendment 2003

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Seventeenth Amendment is basically the Legal Framework Order 2002 that has been accepted as part of the Constitution with minor modifications and may be, therefore, termed as an LFO-amended Constitution. After a surprise deal between PML(Q) and MMA (Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal), the 17th Amendment has now become part of the 1973 Constitution after the formal approval of President General Pervez Musharraf. A year-old constitutional deadlock was broken only because of “flexibility” shown by President General Pervez Musharraf and top MMA leadership. The amendment allows General Pervez Musharraf to serve out his term as President, which ends in 2007, and formalize special powers he had decreed himself giving him the right to sack the prime minister and disband parliament by decree. In return, Musharraf agrees to step down as army chief, supposed to be the main source of his power, by December 31, 2004.

The seventeenth amendment now allows the provision for “vote of confidence for further affirmation of the president in office by majority of the members present and voting, by division or any other method as prescribed in the rules made by the federal government under clause (9), of the electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament and the provincial assemblies”. Accordingly a vote of confidence was passed in favor of the President on January 1, 2004 by members of both National Assembly and the Senate. Despite the fact the MMA abstained from giving the vote of confidence to the President, it has indirectly accepted him as elected president by allowing vote of confidence from both houses of parliament and provincial assemblies.

Under the Article 58(2)(b), “the President in case of dissolution of the National Assembly shall, within fifteen days of the dissolution, refer the matter to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court shall decide the reference within thirty

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