Distraction from Parliament

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THE National Assembly on Wednesday once again failed to hold a debate on the flood situation in the country as the government, despite having over 100 cabinet members and parliamentary secretaries, failed to maintain quorum.

Ministers also seemed to ignore Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s directives, which he had issued on Monday when the house faced a similar situation and members had refused to take part in the debate in the absence of ministers.

The issue has two dimensions – insensitivity of the elected members to the extraordinary situation arising out of recent floods and rains, which created enormous difficulties for people in the affected regions and lack of interest of the members in the business of the house that is the fundamental responsibility of the MPs.

The issue has been going on for many years and successive Speakers as well as media have been pointing out to this phenomenon time and again but it seems MPs are not ready to mend their ways, thereby inflicting harm on the overall image of the elected houses.

The country is facing a challenging situation and it is the responsibility of the members to highlight problems and sufferings of the people they represent and offer suggestions for plans and programmes to tackle them effectively.

It is all the more important for cabinet members as well as members of the treasury benches to ensure quorum in the two houses as it helps advance the cause of legislative and other business of parliament.

Regrettably, there is a growing impression that MPs and cabinet members are more interested in enjoying perks and privileges than discharging their duties and responsibilities vis-à-vis Parliament and people of Pakistan.

Given the existing composition of the National Assembly, the coalition partners have to blame themselves for such a deplorable state of affairs as the opposition has negligible presence in the house after the PTI decided to stay out.

We support the demand that the Prime Minister may take a serious notice of the situation besides ensuring his own presence in the two houses whenever his busy schedule affords an opportunity.

 

 

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