NA passed 30 bills in 133-day session in second year: report
By Iqbal Choudhry
ISLAMABAD: Just before the president’s speech to a joint session of parliament, the Law Ministry on Monday informed President Asif Ali Zardari about the progress of the parliament’s second year.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan submitted parliament’s annual report to the president at the Presidency.
According to the report, the National Assembly passed 30 bills in its second parliamentary year that commenced on March 17, 2009 and will end on March 16, 2010 and it remained in session for 133 days during this period. Three private members’ bills were also passed during the period.
According to the report, 40 adjournment motions, 31 privilege motions and 84 call attention notices were taken up, while 2,965 questions were answered during the parliamentary year in discussion.
The National Assembly also passed 14 resolutions and 68 ordinances were presented during the said period.
Senate: As for the Senate, during its seventh parliamentary year, which ends on March 11, 2010, around 181 adjournment motions, 31 privilege motions, 93 call attention notices and 736 questions were received besides passage of several bills. It also passed five resolutions.
According to the report, the important bills passed during the parliamentary year included the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services Bill, 2008, Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (Suspension of Trade Union and Exciting Agreement) Order (Repeal) Act, 2008, Industrial Relations Act, 2008, Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill, 2008, Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2008, Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009, Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2009, Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Bill, 2009, Service Tribunals (Amendment) Bill, 2010, Removal From Service (Special Powers) Ordinance, 2000 (Repeal) Bill, 2010, and Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Bill, 2009.
PILDAT: On the other hand, the Pakistan Institute for Legislative Development and Transparency also published its preliminary report on second parliamentary year, under which it said key legislation such as the Holders of Public Offices (Accountability) Bill that was introduced in the House on April 15, 2009, remained pending despite repeated promises and public statements by the government. The bill, which carries several controversial clauses, remains at the committee stage despite passage of 10 months of its introduction.
The report said the budget session, between June 12 and 30, 2009, during the second year of the National Assembly, did not see much improvement in terms of days and hours of debate and the number of members who participated in the debate. The budget session lasted for 10 working days compared to 19 during the first year and 170 members participated in the debate compared to 229 during the first year. The budget debate lasted for only 42 days compared to 41 and a half during the first year. The quality of debate remained unchanged.
The announcement by the government to change the budgeting process during the third parliamentary year in terms of increased days for debate and a role for the standing committees to review departmental demands of grants holds a great promise to improve parliamentary role in the budgeting process.
Some senior parliamentarians who can serve as a model for younger ones had lowered their participation level in the parliamentary business, sending a de-motivating message to other parliamentarians.
Asfandyar Wali of the ANP has the potential to inspire young parliamentarians but his participation in the assembly proceedings and as the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman has been inexplicably weak.
Farooq Leghari, Faisal Saleh Hayat and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi are some of the most noted members of the National Assembly whose lack of participation does not serve the cause of democracy and supremacy of parliament.
Despite the fact that it has not completed its recommendations yet, the constitutional reforms committee has set high standards by holding 51 sittings in eight months since its first formal meeting on June 29, 2009.
Source: Daily Times