This is an overview of an internet research on legislation in Pakistan (as of January 2019). This overview aims to serve as a starting point to facilitate the research into legal texts. However, it should not replace independent verification of the different legal texts as to their currency, validity and accuracy. Please also bear in mind that official translations of legal texts only exist in rare cases.

Researching laws

The website of the National Assembly of Pakistan provides the possibility to search for laws or amendments passed by Parliament (“Acts of Parliament”) by using the search function or by using the menu item “Legislative Business”. The laws passed by Parliament are published in form of announcements in the Gazette of Pakistan. The most recent amendments can be found under the following link:

The Pakistan Code is a website operated by the Pakistan Ministry of Justice that publishes official versions of the Pakistani legislation in Urdu and English. The database offers a search function as well as overviews of laws in alphabetical or chronological order, or according to categories. The website is intermittently not accessible (as of January 2019), but it is possible to access some of the legal texts via Internet Archive (https://archive.org/web/). In such cases, it is advisable to download the PDF versions of the documents in order to be able to consult all parts of the legislative texts:

The Refworld database, operated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), provides the option to search for English translations of some legislative texts:

To access the collection of national laws for Pakistan on ecoi.net, please follow this link.

Legislation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)

In an overview of Pakistan’s state structure and domestic policy (as of June 2018), the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt, AA) describes the longstanding special status and currently changing legislation in the so-called Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Up to now, laws passed at federal level only became effective in the FATA areas as well, if the president explicitly ordered it. However, after years of debate Pakistan’s National Assembly amended the constitution on 24 May 2018 (25th amendment) in favour of the integration of the FATA areas into the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP). This process is expected to pass off in the next few years. (AA, June 2018)

Regarding the integration of the FATA areas into its neighbouring province, the Pakistani daily newspaper Dawn reported the following in October 2018:

„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, 13 October 2018)

The Indian newspaper Hindustan Times mentioned in March 2017, that the merger would take 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.” (Hindustan Times, 2 March 2017)

Information on this 25th amendment of the constitution and its consequences is provided on the governmental website of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA):

„25th Constitutional Amendment

25th Constitutional 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 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 rest of the Country.” (FATA, no date)

The 25th amendment to Pakistan’s Constitution was published in the Official Gazette in June 2018 and is available at the website of Pakistan’s National Assembly:

In April 2018, a law was passed allowing the federal government to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Peshawar to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). According to the announcement in the Official Gazette, the law will enter into force in the FATA or parts thereof as announced by the federal government:

Constitution

The website pakistani.org provides an English version of the Pakistani constitution including amendments up to May 2018:

An official English version of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution, with amendments up to March 2017, is available at The Pakistan Code, a website operated by Pakistan’s Ministry of Justice:

Another amendment to the Constitution, namely the 25th (already mentioned above) was published in the Official Gazette in June 2018 and is available at the website of Pakistan’s National Assembly:

Citizenship Law

The citizenship law of 1951 including the latest amendment of the year 2000 is available at Refworld under the following link:

Information on the acquisition of the Pakistani citizenship for Afghan refugees born in Pakistan can be found in ACCORD’s December 2018 query response:

Criminal Code

An official English version of Pakistan’s Criminal Code of 1860 with amendments, including the February 2017 amendment, is available at The Pakistan Code, a website operated by Pakistan’s Ministry of Justice:

Another amendment to Pakistan’s Criminal Code was made by the 2018 Criminal Law Amendment Act, which was published in the Gazette of Pakistan in May 2018 and is available at the website of Pakistan’s National Assembly:

Criminal Procedure Code

The Pakistan Code, a website operated by the Pakistan Ministry of Justice, provides the Code of Criminal Procedure and its amendments up to February 2017:

Another amendment to Pakistan’s Criminal Code was made by the 2018 Criminal Law Amendment Act, which was published in the Gazette of Pakistan in May 2018 and is available at the website of Pakistan’s National Assembly:

References:

(Sources accessed at 31 January 2019)

Cite as:

ACCORD - Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation: ecoi.net Pakistan Law Guide, January 2019
https://www.ecoi.net/en/countries/pakistan/law-guide/