With the post-election change in its leadership as well as the membership, the Upper House of the Parliament struggled during the 16th parliamentary year to maintain the higher standards of productivity and efficiency set during the previous term (2015-18). This is observers in a report released by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) here Friday.
According to the report, the Upper House of the Parliament faltered on maintaining the pace of producing legislations, overseeing executive, transacting committee business and maintaining order during the outgoing parliamentary year that concluded on March 11, 2019, if compared with the preceding year. However, the House improved on the counts of punctuality and respect for time.
Senate’s legislative productivity during its 16th parliamentary year remained half of what it was during the preceding year.
The House passed only 26 legislative pieces – 20 government and six private – during the outgoing parliamentary year as compared to 50 legislations – 33 government and 17 private – passed during the previous year. This decline may partly be attributed to the numerical minority of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the Senate.
On government-sponsored legislation, Senate mainly disposed of business that was initiated by the previous government. The current government introduced only seven bills in the House. Within this set of seven bills, three were initiated by the previous government during its tenure but had lapsed with the expiry of the term of 14th National Assembly. Government also withdrew one bill after its introduction saying it required a review by the cabinet.
The approved government-sponsored legislations dealt with providing constitutional and legal framework to FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; introducing institutional reforms in health infrastructure; improving mechanism to tackle human-trafficking; granting legal charter to educational institutions; and introducing further reforms to electoral framework. The private members’ bills passed by the House pertained to further criminalizing the child abuse; provision of day-care facility to working women; professional training for students; abolition of interest on private loans; provision of financial relief for victims of natural disaster; and protection of workers’ rights.
The Senate also registered some decline on the counts of efficiency and institutionalization during the year.