159 Pakistan

Green with a vertical white band (symbolizing the role of religious minorities) on the hoist side. A large white crescent and star are centered in the green field. The crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

The entrance to the Badshahi Mosque, or “imperial mosque,” as viewed from the mosque courtyard. The mosque, built by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb from 1671-1673, is the last great mosque built during the Mughal period; its courtyard can accommodate 100,000 worshipers. The gateway leads out to the garden known as Hazuri Bagh, beyond which is the Alamgiri gate of the Lahore Fort.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Pakistan is a member of ICAO.
Last updated on April 19, 2024


According to Britannica, in 1947 the newly independent Pakistan consisted of two distinct parts: the smaller but more densely populated East Pakistan, centered on the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta region, and the much larger West Pakistan, occupying the northwestern portion of the Indian subcontinent. The country’s government, functioning under a modified 1935 Government of India Act, was associated with a British-inherited parliamentary system, containing a strong central government as well as governments in the several provinces that also gave it a federal form. However, in 1971, after the country had experienced more than two decades of turbulent politics, the eastern region seceded and established itself as the independent state of Bangladesh. In the aftermath of that event, Pakistan (now reduced to the former West Pakistan) faced a number of political and economic problems and uncertainties about its future.

Several seemingly irreconcilable domestic conflicts have left their mark on the politics of Pakistan. The first of these occurred at the highest levels of leadership, involving the key political actors from the political parties, the higher bureaucracy, and the upper echelon of the armed forces (notably the Pakistani army). Constitutions in Pakistan have been less about limiting the power of authority and more a legal justification for arbitrary action. The country’s several constitutions reflected more the preeminence of the person holding the highest office than the restrictions imposed on authority, and the national government consistently has been more personalized than institutionalized. The vice regalism of the colonial past has haunted Pakistan from its inception, and struggles for power are therefore more personal than constitutional. In addition, given the ever-present external threat posed by India, the military not only improved and modernized its fighting capability, but it also felt compelled to intervene in the country’s political affairs when it perceived that civilian leadership was unable to govern. The result has been several military administrations (1958–69, 1969–71, 1977–88, and 1999–2008), which ruled Pakistan for roughly half of its history.

A second conflict has taken place between regional groups. The regions that originally made up Pakistan had to be fitted into a design not of their own choosing. The different cultural and historical circumstances, as well as natural and human endowments of those regions, have tested the unity of Pakistan time and again; the loss of East Pakistan demonstrated the failure of Pakistan’s leaders to orchestrate a workable program of national integration. Even after that event, Pakistan has had difficulty reconciling rival claims. Punjab, being the largest and most significant province, has always been perceived as imposing its will on the others, and even attempts at establishing quotas for governmental and nongovernmental opportunities and resources have not satisfied the discontented. The demands for an independent Sindhu Desh for the Sindhis and a Pakhtunistan for the Pathans, and the violently rebellious circumstances in Balochistan in the 1980s and since 2002, illustrate the nature and depth of the problem of national integration. Because these various struggles have been directed against centralized authority, they have merged with the democratic struggle. But their express aims have been to secure greater regional representation in the bureaucratic and military establishment, especially in the higher echelons, and to achieve effective decentralization of powers within the federal system by emphasizing regional autonomy.

A third conflict sprang from the struggle over economic resources and development funds among the more-deprived regions and strata of the population. This resulted in a number of violent confrontations between the less-privileged segments of society and the state. Some of these confrontations, such as those in 1969 and 1977, led to the fall of constitutional government and the imposition of martial law.

A fourth conflict took place between the landed aristocracy that dominated Pakistan’s political and economic life for much of the country’s history and a new urban elite that began to assert itself in the late 1980s. One manifestation of this conflict was the struggle that broke out between Punjab provincial leaders and federal authorities in the late 1980s. Under the Islamic Democratic Alliance, the Punjab government continued to back the interests of the landed aristocracy, while the national government, headed by Benazir Bhutto, with a more liberal bent and a wider base of support, espoused the economic and social interests of urban groups and non-propertied classes. The two governments often clashed in the late 1980s, creating serious economic management problems. Issues regarding power sharing between the federal and provincial governments were largely ignored during the period of military rule in 1999–2008.

However, in the 21st century the success of any government in Pakistan, civilian or military, appeared to rest on the handling of what might be considered a fifth area of major conflict. Since 2001 the country has been confronted by a campaign of ceaseless terror, generally but not exclusively cast in religious terms, that has been mounted by religious forces opposed to secular modernism in all its forms. Government has always been mindful of the need to placate the religiously motivated populace, but finding a balance between those envisioning Pakistan as a theocratic state and those determined to pursue a liberal, progressive agenda has proved to be the most significant test. A climate of virtually irreconcilable forces has emerged, much of it manifested by external militant Islamic elements led by the al-Qaeda organization and a revived Afghan Taliban.

The task of framing a constitution was entrusted in 1947 to a Constituent Assembly that was also to function as the interim legislature under the 1935 Government of India Act, which was to be the interim constitution. Pakistan’s first constitution was enacted by the Constituent Assembly in 1956. It followed the form of the 1935 act, allowing the president far-reaching powers to suspend federal and provincial parliamentary government (emphasizing the viceregal tradition of British India). It also included a “parity formula,” by which representation in the National Assembly for East and West Pakistan would be decided on a parity, rather than population, basis. (A major factor in the political crisis of 1970–71 was abandonment of the parity formula and adoption of representation by population, giving East Pakistan an absolute majority in the National Assembly.)

In 1958 the constitution was abrogated, and martial law was instituted. A new constitution, promulgated in 1962, provided for the election of the president and national and provincial assemblies by something similar to an electoral college, composed of members of local councils. Although a federal form of government was retained, the assemblies had little power, which was, in effect, centralized through the authority of governors acting under the president. In April 1973 Pakistan’s third constitution (since the 1935 act) was adopted by the National Assembly; it was suspended in 1977. In March 1981 a Provisional Constitutional Order was promulgated, providing a framework for government under martial law. Four years later a process was initiated for reinstating the constitution of 1973. By October 1985 a newly elected National Assembly had amended the constitution, giving extraordinary powers to the president, including the authority to appoint any member of the National Assembly as prime minister.

With the end of military rule in 1988 and following elections to the National Assembly held in November of that year, the new president used those powers to appoint a prime minister to form a civilian government under the amended 1973 constitution. In 1997 the prime minister pushed through two significant changes to the constitution. The first revoked the president’s power to remove a sitting government, and the second gave the premier authority to dismiss from parliament any member not voting along party lines, effectively eliminating the National Assembly’s power to make a vote of no confidence. In 1999 a military government again came to power, and the constitution was suspended. The chief executive of that government initially ruled by decree and was made president in 2001. In 2002 the constitution was reinstated following a national referendum, though it included provisions (under the name Legal Framework order [LFO]) that restored presidential powers removed in 1997; most provisions of the LFO were formally incorporated into the constitution in 2003.

The amended constitution provides for a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government; both must be Muslims. According to the constitution, the president is elected for a term of five years by the National Assembly, the Senate, and the four provincial assemblies. The prime minister is elected by the National Assembly. The president acts on the advice of the prime minister. Universal adult suffrage is practiced.

The National Assembly has 342 members, each of whom serves a five-year term. Of these, 272 seats are filled by direct popular election; 262 are for Muslim candidates, and 10 are for non-Muslims. Of the remaining seats, 60 are reserved for women, who are chosen by the major parties; in 2008 the assembly elected its first female speaker. The Senate has 100 members, each serving a six-year term. A portion of the senators are chosen by the provincial assemblies; others are appointed. One-third of the senators relinquish their seats every two years.

Pakistan’s four provinces are divided into divisions, districts, and subdistricts (tehsils, or tahsils). These units are run by a hierarchy of administrators, such as the divisional commissioner, the deputy commissioner at the district level, and the subdivisional magistrate, subdivisional officer, or tehsildar (tahsildar) at the tehsil level. The key level is that of the district, where the deputy commissioner, although in charge of all branches of government, shares power with the elected chairman of the district council. During the period of British rule, the deputy commissioner was both the symbol and embodiment of the central government in remote locations. Expected to serve the constituents in numerous ways, the officer’s responsibilities ranged from that of magistrate dispensing justice to record keeper, as well as provider of advice and guidance in managing the socioeconomic condition. Those multiple roles have varied little since independence, but increasing emphasis has been placed on self-help programs for the rural populace.

In addition to the provinces, Pakistan has the Islamabad Capital Territory and a number of tribal areas that are administered by the provincial governments. The areas of Kashmir under Pakistani control are administered directly by the central government.

Under the constitution there is a formal division between the judiciary and the executive branches of government. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the provincial high courts, and (under their jurisdiction and supervision) district courts that hear civil cases and sessions courts that hear criminal cases. There is also a magistracy that deals with cases brought by the police. The district magistrate (who, as deputy commissioner, also controls the police) hears appeals from magistrates under him; appeals may go from him to the sessions judge. The Supreme Court is a court of record. It has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdictions and is the highest court in the land. At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited legal codes and acts that have remained in force, subject to amendment. The independence of the judiciary has been tested at times, most notably in 2007, when Pres. Pervez Musharraf replaced the chief justice and several other Supreme Court justices who challenged his constitutional legitimacy. Pressure from lawyers’ groups and opposition leaders led to the justices’ reinstatement in 2009.

The judicial system also has a religious dimension; a reorientation to Islamic tenets and values was designed to make legal redress inexpensive and accessible to all persons. A complete code of Islamic laws was instituted, and the Federal Shariat Court, a court of Islamic law (Sharīʿah), was set up in the 1980s; the primary purpose of this court is to ascertain whether laws passed by parliament are congruent with the precepts of Islam. The Sharīʿah system operates alongside the more secular largely Anglo-Saxon system and legal tradition.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) is a public sector autonomous body working under the Federal Government of Pakistan through Aviation Division Cabinet Secretariat. PCAA was established on 7th December, 1982 through Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority ordinance 1982. Prior to creation of PCAA, a Civil Aviation Department (CAD) in the Ministry of Defense (MoD) used to manage the Civil Aviation related activities. Ministry of Defense (MoD) continued to be the controlling Ministry even after creation of CAA on 7th December, 1982. However, in June, 2013, Government of Pakistan assigned this responsibility to Cabinet Secretariat (Aviation Division). The purpose of establishing PCAA is to provide for the promotion and regulations of Civil Aviation activities and to develop an infrastructure for safe, efficient, adequate, economical and properly coordinated Civil Air Transport Service in Pakistan.


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ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G. Pakistan AIP

Drone Regulations

Model Aircraft Rules





2.8. This ANO relates to the operating restrictions on Model aircraft and Kites.

4.8. `Control line model aircraft’ means a model aircraft primarily controlled in flight by a single or multiple wire system operated by the person flying the aircraft and restricted to circular flight about a central point.

4.11. `Free flight model aircraft’ means a model aircraft, with a flight path that, once launched, is uncontrollable.

4.23. `Model aircraft’ means a pilotless aircraft between a gross mass of 500 g-25 Kg which includes:

4.23.1. Control line model aircraft.

4.23.2. Free flight model aircraft.

4.23.3. Radio controlled model aircraft.

4.34. `Radio controlled model aircraft’ means a model aircraft that is primarily controlled by radio signals from a remote transmitter being operated by a person.

10.10.12. AREA No person shall operate a Microlight aircraft, hang glider, Paraglider/Paramotor, powered parachute, parachute, moored balloon, kite, free balloon, model aircraft, gyroglider/gyroplane, or parasail within a restricted area designated unless that person has the approval of the controlling authority specified for the area.

18.4. PRIVILEGES OF MO CERTIFICATE 18.4.1. A Microlight organization may be certified to exercise all or any of the following privileges: To conduct and supervise Model Aircraft flying activities.



21.1.1. The restrictions in this ANO are not applicable to Model aircraft with a gross mass of less than 500 grams.

21.1.2. Special CAA Authorization shall be obtained to assemble and operate Model aircraft of a mass greater than 25 KG.

21.2. CONTROL LINE MODEL AIRCRAFT: No person shall operate a control line model aircraft with a single or multiple wire system longer than 30 m.

21.3. RADIO CONTROLLED MODEL AIRCRAFT: A person shall not operate a radio controlled model aircraft unless the aircraft is constructed and operated under the authority of a model aircraft association approved by the CAA.


21.4.1. With the exception of a control line model aircraft, no person shall operate a model aircraft on or within 4 km of: An uncontrolled aerodrome, unless: It is undertaken in accordance with an agreement with the aerodrome operator; and In the case of a free flight model aircraft, it is launched downwind of an active runway; and In the case of a radio controlled model aircraft, it is operated at a height not exceeding 400 feet AGL, and each pilot has an observer in attendance while the model aircraft is active in the air; A controlled aerodrome, unless it is operated in accordance with an authorization from ATC; and Any aerodrome, unless: The person is the holder of, or is under the direct supervision of the holder of a pilot qualification issued by a model aircraft association approved by the CAA; or The person is under the direct supervision of a person appointed to give instruction in the operation of radio controlled model aircraft by a model aircraft association approved by the CAA.

21.4.2. A person shall not operate a model aircraft: On or over any active aircraft movement area of an aerodrome; or On or over any active runway strip area.

21.5. AIRSPACE: Each person operating a radio controlled model aircraft more than 4 km from an aerodrome boundary and above 400 feet AGL shall ensure the operation remains clear of controlled airspace and shall: Operate in a designated area designated for that purpose by the ATS; or Provide the following information to the ATS NOTAM office, at least 24 hours before the operation: Their name, address, and telephone number. The location of the proposed operation. The date and time and duration of the proposed operation. The type and number of aircraft. The maximum height AGL proposed for aircraft operation.

21.6. METEOROLOGICAL LIMITATIONS: Except for control line model aircraft, a person shall not operate a model aircraft:

21.6.1. In any area where the ground visibility is less than 3 km; or

21.6.2. In any area where the cloud base is at a level where a model aircraft is unable to be operated: In sight of the operator; and Beneath the cloud base at all times.

21.7. NIGHT OPERATIONS: With the exception of control line model aircraft, a person shall not operate a model aircraft at night unless the operation is:

21.7.1. Indoors; or

21.7.2. A shielded operation.

21.8. RIGHT OF WAY: Each person operating a model aircraft shall ensure it gives way to, and remains clear of, all manned aircraft on the ground and in flight.


Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone to film the mosque, pictured above.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 3

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 4

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.





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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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