PILDAT launches directory of parliamentary committees


Speaking at the launching ceremony of Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and transparency (PILDAT) directory of parliamentary committees and relevant civil society and research organisations on Thursday, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Muhammad Aslam Bhootani said the parliamentary committees that were termed the backbone of a functional democracy in any country did not exist at all in Balochistan as the entire assembly is part of the provincial cabinet.
“Unfortunately there are no standing committees functional in Balochistan after the 2008 elections because almost the entire assembly is part of the provincial cabinet, so not many members are left to formulate standing committees,” he said
Speaking on the occasion, Senate of Pakistan Deputy Chairman Senator Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali said parliamentarians should give policies for development instead of getting funds for the parliament.
“In Balochistan a member of provincial assembly (MPA) gets over Rs 250 million for development and there is no development in the province. More provinces should be created to facilitate good administration and relevant committees should address the issue,” he said.
He believed that Standing Committees played their role fairly well but had not lived up to expectations. He was of the view that every political party should give 33% of its tickets to women for the general election.
Other than Jamali, participants who spoke on the occasion included Provincial Assembly Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Karamat Ullah Khan, Provincial Assembly Speaker Punjab Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, member of National Assembly (MNA) Humayun Saifullah Khan and Senator Tariq Azeem.
Speaking on the occasion, Karamat Ullah Khan said he believed that a dysfunctional and derailed democracy was the main cause of the standing committees’ ineffectiveness. Iqbal Khan said he was satisfied with the performance of the standing committees in Punjab. He said making the leader of opposition the chairman of the public accounts committee strengthened democracy and was a useful tool for the accountability of the government.
Azeem said the standing committees did not have any funds and political parties any research and analyses wings. He said committees had no support staff and had no power to implement recommendations. He said executives should be bound to respond in 90 days to the committees’ recommendations. He suggested it should be mandatory for NGOs to show the source of their funds clearly.
The PILDAT Directory of Parliamentary Committees, Civil Society and Research Organisations has been formulated to fill the gap between the parliament and the civil Society, to serve as a tool for the parliament to facilitate the use of professional research sources in addressing issues relevant to the Committees and is an attempt to promote the formation of more purposeful linkages between the Parliamentary Committees and civil society.
In the Directory, information about 28 Standing Committees of the Senate of Pakistan, 32 standing committees of the National Assembly of Pakistan, 33 standing committees of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 38 standing committee of Punjab and 30 standing committees of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh had been given while profiles of 90 organisations were presented in the first edition of the Directory.