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ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser convened the maiden meeting of Senior Parliamentarians Council in Parliament House on 22nd March 2021.

The meeting of the council will be held under the convenership of Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhr Imam.

The Senior Parliamentarians Council will consider the incident of alleged misbehaviour with members of the National Assembly in front of Parliament House on March 6.

In this regard, letters have been sent by the National Assembly Secretariat to the members of the Council belonging to the Treasury and the opposition parties. This would be the first meeting of the Senior Parliamentarians Council after its formation.

The Senior Parliamentarians Council was set up on March 10, 2021 in the wake of the alleged misbehaviour with members of the National Assembly in front of the Parliament House.

The Speaker soon after its formation had referred the matter to the Council.

The Council will carry out its duties under the 9-point Terms of References (TOR). As per TORs, the council will be responsible for promoting parliamentary traditions based on mutual respect, rather than political affiliation.

It will also be part of the council’s responsibility to encourage young members of parliament for the first time to better understand parliamentary matters and to further improve the quality of debate in the House.

The council will try to encourage discussion on issues of public importance in the House, rather than blaming each other.

Ensuring the prevention of any untoward incident in the premises of the National Assembly and Parliament House and ensuring respect and adherence to the rulings given by the Chair while maintaining democratic values beyond political segregation would be responsibility of the Council.

The council will ensure that words and slogans spoken in the House on racial, sexual and religious grounds are avoided. It would be responsibility of the Senior Parliamentar-ians’ Council to assist the Chair in ensuring the implementation of the above points.

The Speaker of the National Assembly may in his discretion to consult the Council on any matter as he may deem fit. The Council has been empowered to include any other matter of importance in Councils ToRs with mutual consent.

The council comprise senior members from all parties present in the National Assembly that included Syed Fakhr Imam, Shafqat Mehmood and Pervez Khattak from PTI, Dr Fehmida Mirza from GDA, and Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui from Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan, Khalid Hussain Magsi from Balochistan Awami Party, Tariq Bashir Cheema from PML, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk from PML-N. Whereas Raja Pervez Ashraf, Aftab Shaban Mirani from Pakistan People’s Party, Shahida Akhtar Ali from Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan and Muhammad Akhtar Mengal from Balochistan National Party are also part of the council. Secretary National Assembly Tahir Hussain is the secretary of the council while the Legislation Wing of the National Assembly will be the secretariat of the Council.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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