Parliamentarians’ scant respect to their responsibilities

THE track record of Parliamentarians show they instantly join hands, forgetting their political affiliation and differences, when it comes to advancing their own interests as they did during passage of a motion recently seeking manifold increase in their salaries and perks. But there is an unfortunate impression that they show scant respect to their fundamental responsibilities as chosen representatives of the people at the highest forum.
It is all the more serious that this impression has been substantiated in a latest report of PILDAT, which says overall performance of National Assembly has declined from 48% to 43% in the 2nd Parliamentary year. NA was worst in accountability with 32% score and best at legislative capacity with 51% score. Attendance was also dismal and there was quorum issue for 17 times during the year. Apart from what PILDAT has pointed out, it has also been observed that most of the Parliamentarians do not take interest in the business of the House and pass their time in gossip. Many of those who do participate, the level and quality of speeches left much to be desired. Issues that really matter for people of Pakistan are hardly discussed and pressed and the focus remains on point scoring. One must acknowledge that the state of affairs in the upper House has improved much ever since assumption of its chairmanship by Mian Raza Rabbani, who makes it a point to begin proceedings at the tick of the clock, go strictly by the book and complete items on ‘Orders of the Day’. This should have sent a clear message to the lower House as well but unfortunately this has not so far happened. Things can improve if the Prime Minister and leaders of different political parties attend proceedings and keep a close vigil on performance of their members. Improvement in efficiency would not only help address issues concerning people but also enhance prestige of Parliament.

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