This book explores the role of the federal cabinet of Pakistan in the decision-making and policy-formulation processes from 1947 to 1977. It challenges the common perception that the federal cabinet was a voiceless institution and only the military and civil bureaucracies played a pivotal role in the decision-making process. The book also highlights how all three institutions, including the civil and military bureaucracies and the cabinet were effective—besides a few prominent individuals—especially in political and economic matters.
The book utilizes newly declassified cabinet files, which include minutes of cabinet meetings, decisions taken by various cabinets, and the working papers and summaries presented to them by ministries on important issues, to conclude that the role of the cabinet as an institution in strengthening democracy in the country was a mixed one. Democracy was reinforced by allowing ministers, representing different shades of opinion and social groups, to share power by coming to a consensus on vital issues with the head of government. However, the cabinet’s undemocratic decisions, such as the use of the military or dismissal of the provincial governments and governors, weakened democracy.