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> Repeated interventions in Democracy responsible for Stunted Growth of Democratic Institutions: Law Minister
   Performance of Parliament evaluated to be at 44% by MPs and Others: PILDAT Parliament Performance Score Card
 

December 22, 2011
Islamabad


3rd Year - Performance of NA - Score Card [PDF]
Three Years - Performance of Senate [PDF]
   

Islamabad, December 22; Performance of the Parliament of Pakistan was evaluated to be at 44% in an evaluation by Parliamentarians and others, revealed PILDAT. The performance evaluation has been facilitated by PILDAT using an international framework on evaluating performance of Parliament developed by International Parliamentary Union. The evaluation scores were shared by PILDAT in a Roundtable Discussion on Performance of Parliament here today.

 
 

Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Senator Maula Buksh Chandio, who was the chief guest at the Roundtable, believed that repeated military interventions in democracy are responsible for stunted growth of democratic institutions.

 
 

Other speakers who shared views at the Roundtable included Senator Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Leader of the House in Senate, Mr. Zahid Hamid, MNA, (NA 114, Sialkot V, Punjab, PMLN), Syed Zafar Ali shah, MNA, ( NA 212 Naushero Feroze-II, Sindh, PPPP), Syed Aftab Shaban Merani, MNA (NA 202 Shikarpur I, Sindh, PPPP), Mr. Humayun Saifullah Khan (NA 27, Lakki Marwat, KPK, PML), Malik Amad Khan, MNA (NA 71, Mianwali I, Punjab, PPPP) and Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director, PILDAT.

 
 

Senator Maula Buksh Chandio said that performance of Parliament reflects combined performance of the treasury and the opposition benches. The PPP is proud of the fact that for the first time chairmanship of PAC and other Standing Committees is given to the opposition. Parliament’s biggest achievement is to have revived the 1973 Constitution in its original shape. 18th Constitutional Amendment has strengthened the federation through giving powers to the provinces. Defence budget has been presented in greater detail. He admitted that peoples problems remain but will these will only be addressed through uninterrupted system of democracy in Pakistan.

 
 

In the PILDAT Score Card on the Performance of Parliament, The Transparency and Accessibility of the National Assembly scored the highest, i.e. 54%. Two aspects of the performance of the Senate namely The Transparency and Accessibility of the Senate and Representativeness of the Senate scored the highest, i.e. 53%. The weakest aspect of the National Assembly’s performance is evaluated to be Effectiveness of the National Assembly’s Involvement in Foreign Policy which got a score of 33 %. Similarly, the weakest aspect of the performance of the Senate is also evaluated to be Effectiveness of the Senate’s Involvement in Foreign Policy which got a score of 34 %.

 
 

05 Senators and 11 MNAs participated in the evaluation of the performance of Parliament while 15 others included journalists covering the proceedings of Parliament, analysts, and other citizens and one representative of the Parliamentary Staff. From 2002 onwards, PILDAT has consistently looked at the performance of the Pakistan’s Parliament, reviewing it from the citizens’ perspective. Its annual reports have helped highlight critical areas of performance as well as that of required reform in the Parliament of Pakistan over the years.

 
 

Senator Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Leader of the House in Senate, believed that after devolution the legislative business is far less at the federal level as many ministries are devolved to the provinces. He said that political forces believe in law and all the constitutional departments have to work in their ambit. No unconstitutional act should be welcomed by citizens, he believed.

 
 

Mr. Zahid Hamid, MNA, appreciated PILDAT on behalf of Leader of opposition in National Assembly for compiling such a comprehensive report. He said that the significance and magnitude of success of Public Accounts Committee is not highlighted as it should be in the report. He said that Rs. 115.3 Billion were recovered by PAC in three years. He believed that appointing Leader of opposition as Chairman PAC was truly an unprecedented practice in Pakistan. He said that Government’s biggest failure is not passing the Holders of Public Offices (Accountability) Bill 2009 which has been pending with the National Assembly Law Committee since April 2009. He stressed that this is failure of the Government not of the Assembly as Government does not wish to pass the Accountability law. He said that opposition has presented 58 amendments to this Bill in the Committee.

Syed Zafar Ali Shah, MNA, believed that while evaluating Parliament, its powers should be kept in mind. For instance, resolutions of the Parliament are not legally binding on the Executive. Political parties are weak and decisions are made by one man or few of his close aids. Elections in Pakistan are mostly rigged. A Parliamentary board in each party should decide about the tickets of candidates in General Election.

Syed Aftab Shaban Merani, MNA, said that the beauty of democracy is that all citizens agree to disagree. Democracy promotes tolerance and is the only system which can help Pakistan rid itself of extremism. He said that Pakistan is the only country in the world where leader of opposition heads the PAC.

Mr. Humayun Saifullah Khan, MNA, believed that a true federation should not have a concurrent list. Fiscal deficit should be defined as a certain ratio of GDP instead of “prudent limits”.

Malik Amad Khan, MNA, was of the opinion that one of the problems of Foreign Affairs Committee is that it works is being duplicated by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. He recommended that Prime Minister’s Question Hour should be introduced weekly. Standing committees could be more effective by picking up the right persons for the committees.

Earlier Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director, PILDAT, while giving an overview of the scorecard of performance of the Senate and National Assembly, said that the objective of the evaluation of performance of Parliament is to highlight critical areas of performance as well as that of required reform in the Parliament from Citizens perspective. Parliament, as a forum representing citizens, should be aware that citizens evaluate its role and performance as Parliament evaluates and oversees the performance of the Executive. He said while evaluating the performance of the Parliament we keep in mind that in Pakistan democracy has been repeatedly suspended.

Mr. Mehboob highlighted that the biggest failure of the current Parliament is that a bill originally titled as ‘Holders of Public Office (Accountability) Bill, 2009’ is before the National assembly since April 15, 2009. He said that despite promises by the Government and demands from across the political spectrum inside the National Assembly, the National Assembly has failed to institute required reforms in the Parliamentary Budget Process. The role of the Assembly in analysing and scrutinising the national budget remains ineffective with no role for the parliamentary committees in the budget process. Another area of concern, highlighted by the report, is that Parliament has failed to provide a role in influencing and reviewing Pakistan’s foreign policy options as well as Pakistan’s Defence and National Security paradigm.

 
 

Detailed Score Cards on the Performance of Parliament can be accessed below:

  1. Score Card on the Performance of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan
  2. Score Card on the Performance of the Senate of Pakistan

PILDAT received financial support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Islamabad for printing these Score Cards and for holding the Roundtable Discussion.