AGL 8.30 Increased By ▲ 0.44 (5.6%)
ANL 10.59 Increased By ▲ 0.24 (2.32%)
AVN 78.60 Increased By ▲ 0.70 (0.9%)
BOP 5.45 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (1.11%)
CNERGY 5.59 Increased By ▲ 0.58 (11.58%)
EFERT 80.25 Decreased By ▼ -0.55 (-0.68%)
EPCL 69.60 Increased By ▲ 1.50 (2.2%)
FCCL 15.30 Increased By ▲ 0.74 (5.08%)
FFL 6.53 Increased By ▲ 0.33 (5.32%)
FLYNG 7.18 Increased By ▲ 0.53 (7.97%)
GGGL 10.85 Increased By ▲ 0.27 (2.55%)
GGL 16.79 Increased By ▲ 0.38 (2.32%)
GTECH 8.14 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.25%)
HUMNL 7.04 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.28%)
KEL 2.99 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (3.82%)
LOTCHEM 30.77 Increased By ▲ 2.24 (7.85%)
MLCF 28.98 Increased By ▲ 2.03 (7.53%)
OGDC 82.75 Increased By ▲ 0.60 (0.73%)
PAEL 16.97 Increased By ▲ 0.32 (1.92%)
PIBTL 6.08 Increased By ▲ 0.24 (4.11%)
PRL 18.10 Increased By ▲ 1.35 (8.06%)
SILK 1.15 Increased By ▲ 0.05 (4.55%)
TELE 11.25 Increased By ▲ 0.28 (2.55%)
TPL 9.20 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.22%)
TPLP 19.88 Increased By ▲ 0.22 (1.12%)
TREET 26.46 Increased By ▲ 0.55 (2.12%)
TRG 94.60 Increased By ▲ 0.99 (1.06%)
UNITY 19.50 Increased By ▲ 0.50 (2.63%)
WAVES 14.34 Increased By ▲ 0.78 (5.75%)
WTL 1.30 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (4.84%)
BR100 4,187 Increased By 80.1 (1.95%)
BR30 15,474 Increased By 343.5 (2.27%)
KSE100 42,096 Increased By 670.9 (1.62%)
KSE30 15,883 Increased By 222.7 (1.42%)

EDITORIAL: National Assembly session on Monday, the second sitting of the new (fourth) parliamentary year, ended on a negative note due to the legislators’ indifferent attitude. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan had come prepared to present two ordinances for approval. But before he took the floor the session had to be adjourned by Speaker Asad Qaiser due to lack of quorum pointed out by a PML-N member. So thin was the attendance that the Speaker did not find it necessary to order a number count. The earlier September 17 sitting of the House had also failed to discuss the proposed agenda for the same reason. That though is not something new. As the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), an independent think-tank, notes in its report on the performance of the lower house during the last parliamentary year, 24 out of the 79 total sittings were adjourned because of lack of quorum.

It should not be difficult for the ruling party to maintain quorum. All it needs is the presence of one-fourth members of the 324-member house, which comes to 86 legislators only. Yet every so often, that becomes a problem. The reason is not difficult to figure out. As it is, the prime minister rarely makes an appearance in the National Assembly, which disincentivises his ministers, and when the ministers are not there most legislators do not find it worth their while to be present. That in fact has been the way of the previous PML-N government, too. The number of times former prime minister Nawaz Sharif went to Parliament could be counted on fingers. Cynics note that he made more visits abroad than to the nation’s top legislative forum. Only the PPP leaders have creditable track record in this respect. Elected governments need to show respect to the institution from which they derive the right to govern.

Notably, soon after coming to power Imran Khan had announced his intention to make himself available to members of Parliament in a fortnightly “Prime Minister’s Question Hour” to answer their questions. That was not to be. As noted earlier, he kept away from the assembly as far as possible. According to his party men and women, the reason was the opposition’s rowdy behaviour. That should not bother a sportsman of his experience and standing. In any event, the key responsibility to ensure smooth running of legislative business falls squarely on the ruling party’s shoulders. The opposition legislators may want to give hard time to the ruling party with walkouts and/or other forms of protest. It is for the government to see to it that parliamentary business does not come to a stop because some of its legislators think they have better things to do than what they got elected to do.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

Comments

Comments are closed.