Hnourable Mr. Humayun Saifullah Khan believed that a private member bill should be given more importance. He believed that 18th amendment is a big paradigm shift in history of Pakistan. He stressed that committees should be more effective and functional. He pointed out that in India Tax to GDP ratio has reached 18% while in Pakistan it has dropped down to just over 8%.
Honouarble Senator Tariq Azeem said that neither standing committees have any funds and nor political parties have any research and analyses wings. He said that committees have no support staff and have no power for the implementation of recommendations. He said that Executive should bound to respond in 90 days to Committees’ recommendations. He suggested that it should be mandatory for NGOs to show clearly from where they get their funds.
Dr. Moeed Pirzada believed that this directory would also help media in a big way as most of the civil society organizations are not well known in media. He admitted that Pakistani electronic media is not fact-based in terms of its analyses. He believed that in most democratic countries a lot of research work is published on websites of their Parliaments but unfortunately there is no such practice in Pakistan. He believed that politicians could play an important role in shaping up the political discourse of media.
Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri believed that when democratic system derails, it doesn’t just hurt democracy but also independent research cannot prosper. He believed that in Pakistan the crises are often policy-led crises. Most of the policies are focused on security issues and Parliament could never define policies in the country.
Parliamentarians, members of civil society and representatives of media participated in the ceremony in large numbers. Participants appreciated PILDAT for this effort. Dr. Abdul Qadir Khanzada, MNA, (NA 242Karachi IV, Sindh, MQM) was of the view that legislators should be given the portfolios of ministries and chairmanship on the basis of their expertise and experience in their relevant fields. Mr. Riaz Fatiana, MNA, (NA-94T.T.Singh-II, Punjab, PML) stated that the communications and attitude of Parliamentarians is much different in the Standing Committee meetings as compare to the overall culture of the House. In Standing Committees members of the treasury and opposition benches are often on same page on a particular issue. He believed that civil society contribution is very vital for Standing Committees functions as they didn’t have their own research wings. Mr. Abdul Rashid Godil, MNA, (NA 252 Karachi XIV, Sindh, MQM) stressed that accountability should be across the board and Parliamentary Committees can make their relevant Government Departments accountable. He believed that Finance Committee should play its role in budget making process.
Earlier, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT, while highlighting the purpose of launching of the directory, expressed that Parliamentary Committees are seen as vital to the work of Parliaments. He said that due to a variety of reasons, chief among is lack of institutional stability due to derailing of democracy, Parliamentary Committees in Pakistan have not been able to maximise their potential and performance. Within the structure of the Parliament, non-availability of research resources and weak linkages between Civil Society expertise and the Parliament are the other major cause for lack of optimum performance. Therefore PILDAT has taken this initiative to launch a directory to bridge this gap between the Standing Committees and civil society organisations and to strengthen the connection between the two important components for strengthening of democracy and democratic institutions of Pakistan.