Performance of Assemblies

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ACCORDING to a report released by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) on Tuesday, each of the four provincial assemblies has recorded a decline in legislation, working hours and attendance of chief ministers in their third parliamentary year as compared to the second one.

Instead of accelerating their performance, the report indicates that the provincial assemblies have shown a declining trend across most, if not all, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Firstly, the PILDAT really deserves appreciation for coming with such parliamentary oversight reports every year, reminding the members of parliament of their role and responsibilities towards strengthening Parliament.

The organization also remains at the forefront in capacity building of the MPs. However, it is really disturbing and worrisome that these elected representatives do not take their responsibilities seriously.

In the public eye, these assemblies are nothing more than a debating club. The people want their representatives to discuss the problems faced by them and the country and come up with concrete solutions but nothing of the sort is happening.

Unfortunately, the members spend most of their time in assemblies in point scoring and mudslinging rather than concentrating on the public welfare. The situation is no different in the National Assembly and the Senate.

Though the legislative activity witnessed a sharp increase in the third parliamentary year of National Assembly as it passed sixty laws, but scenes witnessed during this period with members resorting to bad mouthing and punching each other has really dented the image of Parliament.

Hence, in the first place, it is important that the members whilst rising above lip service and political affiliation must work towards promoting good parliamentary practices.

Senior parliamentarians have an important role in this regard. They must demonstrate greater maturity in their conduct to set an example for the junior lot.

If the legislature is to respond to public needs and also exercise oversight of the executive, it is important to make the standing committee system more vibrant and effective.

The committees’ additional value lies in their ability to lead the debate on specific policies; conduct detailed investigations and inquiries on issues of public importance; and engage civil society in the legislative process.

Particularly urgent issues include electoral reform, public expenditure and budgetary allocations, law and order and human rights.

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