Make Parliament relevant

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THE government, despite enjoying two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, faced another embarrassment on Monday when it miserably failed to get the controversial inquiry commissions bill passed from the house due to lack of quorum after opposition boycotted the proceedings in protest. Initially, the Government had necessary numbers but as the proceedings dragged on, treasury benches could not maintain their strength and the opposition successfully manipulated the situation in its favour.
Lack of quorum is a perennial problem especially in the National Assembly where frequent warnings by the Speaker, chief whip of the ruling party and even the Prime Minister have not so far produced any tangible result. It has been observed that members belonging to different parties do not take interest in the proceedings and mostly remain away from the house on one pretext or the other. It is, however, responsibility of the treasury benches to maintain quorum and make proceedings lively and meaningful but they too are least bothered and as a consequence overall image of the government is dented in the eyes of general public. It is worth pointing out that nowadays PTI is boycotting sessions of the two houses on the issue of Panama Papers and therefore, the ruling party should have taken extra care in ensuring presence of its members. Only recently, salaries and perks of members of Parliament have been increased significantly attracting criticism from many circles. MPs are representing their electorate and must actively participate in the proceedings particularly when they are fabulously paid for the job. We hope Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would take serious notice of the situation, as it has become a question of honour and prestige of the institution of Parliament. However, for this to happen, the PM ought to attend proceedings of both the National Assembly and the Senate himself.