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> How to be an effective Parliamentarian?
How to be an effective Parliamentarian?
April 17, 2006

In The News

A short course on How to be an effective Parliamentarian? focusing exclusively on building the capacities of women parliamentarians, organised by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency-PILDAT was held at the Marriot Hotel, Islamabad. This is the first in a series of 5 parliamentary development courses for women MPs which will be delivered over the period of April to June, 2006 in Islamabad. Keynote speakers included Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA and former Federal Minister, M.P. Bhandara, MNA and chaired by Dr. Noor Jehan Panezai, former Deputy Chairman, Senate of Pakistan.


In his opening remarks, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director, PILDAT highlighted that despite the recent increase in the number of women in Parliament in Pakistan, many do not have any prior political orientation and experience. He pointed out that for an effective and meaningful representation of women in Parliament there is a need to focus on the challenges faced by the women MPs and for building their capacities to effectively discharge their responsibilities. He also pointed out that PILDAT was cognizant of the fact that women and men members of parliament need to work together as public representatives and such programmes were also being developed along with this course series. He said the sessions will focus on the varied roles of parliamentarians as well as a debate on how to be a more effective parliamentarian.


Addressing the participants Mr. Naveed Qamar said that there was no difference between the role of a woman or a male parliamentarian and women MPs would stay a step behind if they did not see themselves as such. He said that in Pakistan Parliament is at a nascent stage and a successful MP is one that can make parliament effective and fulfill the needs of his constituents. He also pointed out that currently the role of an MP in national policy issues remains weak. He stressed the importance of parliamentary ettiquetes, knowledge of rules and procedures, doing homework on issues to be taken up, developing purposeful relations with media, spending time in library or research and being assertive in committees in order to play a stronger role in parliament. In the end he said even though MPs maybe adversaries, they still needed to create a consensus across the board with each others’ support.


Mr. M.P. Bhandara stressed that an MP should always act according to her conscious in line with her constitutional pledge. He said that the question hour was a useful tool and an asset of the assembly and should be used by the MPs to the fullest. He also felt that women parliamentarians needed to take guerilla action and assert themselves in the house and in the committees –and in their parties-they will get results.


Deliberations during the session thanked the speakers for giving women parliamentarians the wake-up call to fight for their rights as parliamentarians and highlighted the problem faced by the committees in their working with the ministries-in getting their recommendations implemented, in getting information from the ministries and in dealing with bureaucratic pressure, as well as using research and civil society expertise to strengthen committees.


In concluding the session Dr. Noor Jehan Panezai said that women should not get discouraged and deterred and continue to work at par with their male members of parliament.


The parliamentarians attending the session included Ms. Zeb Gohar Ayub, MNA, Dr. Azra Fazal, MNA, Dr. Noor Jehan, MNA, Ms. Shamim Akhtar, MNA, Ms. Farhana Khalid, MNA, Ms. Tehmina Dasti, MNA, Ms. Gul-e-Farkhanda, MNA, Ms. Shabina Talat, MNA, Ms. Afsar Begum, MNA, Prof. Aasiya Azeem, MNA, Ms. Ambreen Naeem, MNA, Ms. Nayyer Sultana, MNA, Ms. Jamila Ahmad, MNA, Senator Kulsoom Parveen, Senator Razian Alam Khan, Senator Afia Zia, Senator Dr. Kausar Firdous, Senator Ratna Chawla, Ms. Munawar Sagheer, MPA




L to R: Dr. Noor Jehan Panezai, Syed Naveed Qamar, M. P. Bhindara, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob


Participants at the Short Course


Participant receiving her certificate