Pakistan came into being on 14th August 1947. The newly founded Government of Pakistan inherited part of the Cabinet Secretariat from undivided India under the British Rule. Initially Cabinet Division was established as Cabinet Secretariat and was located at Karachi, the then Capital of Pakistan, under a Secretary General to perform the following functions:
- Co-ordinate the work of Secretaries in the ministries.
- act as Secretary to the Cabinet.
- In the performance of his duties, the Secretary General was made responsible to the Prime Minister.
Rules of Business 1950 assigned the following business to the Cabinet Secretariat:
- All Secretarial work of the Cabinet
- Provision of Secretariat for the Committees of Cabinet and Committees set up by the order of cabinet or of Committee of cabinet,
- Appointment, budget and personal staff of Ministers, Minister of State and Deputy Ministers.
- Allowances and Privileges of Ministers, Minister of State and Deputy Ministers.
- Provision of Secretariat for meetings of the Secretaries Committee and Special meetings of Secretaries.
- Rules of Business.
- Co-ordination of Conferences including Inter-Dominion Conferences.
- Co-ordination of Partition work.
- General Co-ordination.
- Rules for the use of staff cars and allotment of cars.
- Compilation of the Administrative Directory of the Government of Pakistan and of the Karachi Official and Diplomatic Directory.
- Secretarial work of the Prime Minister.
- Functions of Intelligence Bureau and the joint Cypher Bureau.
- References from the Military Secretary to the Governor General.
In 1951, the then Cabinet Secretariat was bifurcated into two full-fledged Divisions:
- Cabinet Secretariat (main)
- Cabinet Secretariat (Establishment Division)
In 1958, in pursuance of a Presidential decision, the Cabinet Secretariat was re-designated as the President's Secretariat. Cabinet Secretariat (Main) was named as the "Cabinet Division".
The Capital was shifted to Islamabad in 1959 and the Cabinet Division moved into the Railways Building opposite Railway Station Rawalpindi now being used by Divisional Superintendent Railways. The shifting commenced on 15 October 1959.
The President's Secretariat was re-organized on 14 May 1962 and the Cabinet Division became part of the new Secretariat along with four other Divisions. The Rules of Business were revised in 1962. Accordingly the following business was assigned to the Cabinet Division:
- All secretarial work for Cabinet, its Committees, and the Governors' Conference; watching implementation of their decisions,Secretaries' Committee
- Remuneration, privileges, terms, etc., of the President, Governors, Ministers, Special Assistants to the President, terms and conditions of appointment of Ministers in the Provinces.
- Central Intelligence.
- Defence Co-ordination.
- Rules of Business.
- Co-ordination of cases involving directions of the President to a Governor under Article 66(2).
- Treatment and custody of official documents; preservation of State documents,
- Co-ordination in matters of general interest to all Division including the provision of common services such as tele-printer service, mail delivery service, transport facilities, etc.
- Allocation of motor cars, motor cycles, etc, to central Government servants posted at Rawalpindi and Karachi,
- Sanction for telephone at the residence of an officer below the status of Joint Secretary.
President Secretariat was again reorganized into ministries and Divisions on 3rd May 1965 and Cabinet Secretariat comprising Cabinet and Establishment Divisions was recreated.
After the approval of the new Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan by the National Assembly in 1973, the new Rules of Business for the Federal Government were formulated. Accordingly following business was assigned to the Cabinet Division.
- All secretarial work for the Cabinet, Council of Common Interests, Inter-Provincial Conference, National Economic Council and their Committees, Secretaries' Committee.
- Follow up and implementation of decisions of all the bodies mentioned at (1) above.
- Council of Common Interest: Its constitution and appointment of members.
- National Economic Council: Its constitution and appointment of members.
- Secretaries Committee.
- Central Pool of Cars.
- All matters relating to President, Prime Minister, Federal Ministers, Ministers of State, Persons of Minister's status without Cabinet rank, Special Assistants to the Prime Minister.
- Appointments, resignations, salaries, allowances and privileges of Provincial Governors.
- Strength, terms and conditions of service of the personal staff of the Ministers, Ministers of State, Special Assistants to the Prime Minister, dignitaries who enjoy the rank and status of a Minister or Minister of State.
- Rules of Business: Setting up of a Division, allocation of business to a Division and constitution of a Division or group of Divisions as a Ministry.
- Implementation of the directives of the President/Prime Minister.
- Preparation of Annual Report in relation to Federation on observance of Principles of Policy.
- Budget for the Cabinet: Budget for the Supreme Judicial Council.
- Federal Intelligence.
- Coordination of defence effort at the national level by forging effective liaison between the Armed Forces, Federal Ministries and the Provincial Governments at the national level; Secretariat functions of the various Post-War Problems.
- Communications Security.
- Administrative control of Shaikh Zayed Postgraduate Medical Institute, Lahore.
- Instructions for delegations abroad and categorization of International conferences.
- Security and proper custody of official documents and Security Instructions for protection of classified matter in Civil Departments.
- Preservation of State Documents.
- Coordination: Control of residential telephones and staff cars; Staff Car Rules; common services such as Tele-printer Service, Mail Delivery Service, etc.
- Civil Awards: Gallantry Awards.
- Tosha Khana.
- Disaster Relief.
- Repatriation of civilians and civil internees from India,Bangla Desh and those stranded in Nepal and other foreign countries, and all other concerned matters.
- Resettlement and rehabilitation of civilians and civil Government servants uprooted from East Pakistan including policy for grant of relief and compensation for losses suffered by them.
- All matters arising out of options exercised by and expatriation of Bengalies from Pakistan.
- Grant of subsistence allowance to Government servants under the rule making control of the Government of East Pakistan and its corporations, and their families stranded in West Pakistan.
- Management of movable and immovable properties left by the Bengalis in Pakistan.
- Administration of the "Special Fund" for POWs and civilian internees held in India and War displaced persons.
- Defence of Pakistan Ordinance and Rules.
- Federal Land Commission.
- Stationery and Printing for Federal Government official Publications, Printing Corporation of Pakistan.
- Administrative Control of the National Language Authority.
- General coordination between the Federal Government and the Provinces in the economic, cultural and administrative fields.
- Promoting uniformity of approach in formulation of policy and implementation among the Provinces and the Federal Government in all fields of common concern.
- Discussions of policy issues emanating from the Provinces which have administrative or economic implications for the country as a whole.
- Any other matter referred to the Division by a Province or any of the Ministries or Divisions of the Federal Government.
- National Archives including Muslim Freedom Archives.
- Administrative control of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).
- Administrative control of National Commission for Human Development.
In the wake of major re-organization on 19 November 1996, Inter-Provincial Co-ordination Division and Management Services Divisions were merged with the Cabinet Division. Later, the Management Services Wing was transferred to the Establishment Division in 2001.
Inter Provincial Coordination was converted into Inter Provincial Coordination Division on 19th March, 2007.