July 01; In a Consultative Session organised by PILDAT on Scorecards on Senators’ Performance, 2015-2016, experts stressed upon Parliamentarians to effectively discharge their responsibilities of representation, legislation and oversight.
The Consultative Session took place in the backdrop of the PILDAT Report on Scorecards on Honourable Senators’ Performance, 2015-16, launched on June 27, 2016. As a result of our evaluation, Senator Col (R) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi (Sindh, MQM) emerged as Senator of the Year with the highest overall score of 95%. Senator Sassui Palijo (Sindh, PPP-P) gained the 1st position among 19 Women Senators in the Senate with an overall score of 51%. Overall average score of Senators performance in the Senate was 41%.
Former Speaker West Pakistan Assembly / former Senator and member of the PILDAT Steering Committee, Chaudhry Muhammad Anwer Bhinder highlighted that the roles and responsibilities of the Parliamentarians are clearly stated in the Rules of Procedure and the Constitution. A Parliamentarian’s primary duty remains that of representation; at least, that is one dimension of their responsibilities that resonates closely with the electorate. This, however, does not take away from the importance of the duties of law making and acting as a bridge between the Government and the people. Mr. Bhinder stated that political parties as institutions are crucial in the training of the Parliamentarians. Media also must play a role in engaging MPs’ attention towards issues of public importance.
Senior Journalist and President, CPNE, Mr. Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami, noted that successive martial laws in Pakistan disrupted the parliamentary system of government, hence, importance of constituencies increased over time. However, there is no difference between roles and responsibilities of MNAs, MPAs and local government representatives. A crucial need in our country has arisen since the formation of local governments to draft separately their roles and responsibilities. Mr. Shami also highlighted that parliamentary parties are generally very weak and do not meet as regularly as they should.
Earlier, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President, PILDAT presented key findings of the Score Card and raised three key questions for debate at the conference and beyond. 1) Role and responsibilities of parliamentarians in Pakistan: How to reconcile conflicting expectations of the electorate and the constitution and the rules? 2) Has the role and performance of Pakistani parliamentarians undergone a change since 1947 or 2002? If so, what is the change? Is it a change for the better? 3) How to optimize the positive impact of citizens’ assessment of parliamentarians’ performance? And how to avoid the possible negative impact?
Discussants present at the conference included Mr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Senior Journalist and Anchor, Mr. Yasir Pirzada, Columnist, Jang Group, Dr. Nighat Noureen, FC College, Mr. Shamshad Ahmed, Former Foreign Secretary, Mr. Khalid Mehmood Khalid, Correspondent Samaa TV, Mr. Naeemul Haq, DG NIM, Mr. Suheil Warraich, Senior Analyst, Mr. Ata-ur-Rehman, Group Editor, Daily Nai Baat, Mr. Irshad Ahmed Arif, Columnist, Dunya,Mr. Rauf Tahir, Columnist, Mr. Amjad Mehmood, DAWN Correspondent, Mr. Usman Naeem, Additional Secretary, MPDD, Mr. Wajahat Ali Dogar, Instructor, MPDD, Dr. Saad S. Khan, Instructor, NSPP, Mr. Rahat Ul Ain, Professor at UMT, Ms. Rabia Sultan, Director, Farmer’s Association, Mr. Imran Khan, Anchor, Express News, Mr. Hafizullah Niazi, Senior Analyst, Mr. Najam U Din, Joint Director, HRCP, Dr. Murad Raas, MPA, PTI, Ms. Faiza Malik, MPA, PPP-P, Mr. Tasneem Noorani, Former Secretary Interior.
PILDAT Scorecards on Honourable Senators’ Performance, 2015-2016, and Consultative Session were organised by PILDAT under its Democracy and Governance Programme for which it has received financial support from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Government of Denmark.