PML-N govt fails to finalise 33 NA committees


Despite the completion of 100 days of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, the parliamentary monitoring of the governance system remains a dream as the government has failed to finalise the formulation of 33 committees as the coalition partners have not yet resolved issues over the same.
The source said the government was reluctant to award chairpersonships of bodies to the opposition parties, especially the PTI, fearing strong accountability.
Under the rules, the government had to form these committees by July 5. The committees included 28 standing committees of the National Assembly, four non-ministerial committees and one special committee of parliament.
A source in the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry told Pakistan Today that the PML-N leadership had yet to resolve differences with its major coalition partners, including the PML-F, JUI-F, PkMAP and nationalist parties.
Under the rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, the government should get members of all standing committees elected by the National Assembly within 30 days of the election of the leader of the House (prime minister).
Rule 200 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in National Assembly 2007 (Amended up to December 2010) says, “(1) Except as otherwise provided in these rules, each Committee shall consist of not more than [twenty] members to be elected by the Assembly within thirty days after the ascertainment of the Leader of the House.”
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was elected on June 5 and the timeline of 30 days ended on July 5. However, the government has planned to get this legal anomaly condoned from the National Assembly as the government enjoys a majority in the House.
“If this happens to be the case, the delay in formation of committees will extend to another six weeks,” the source added.
He said the government was in consultation with all political parties, but no summary had been prepared so far.
“The summary would be formulized one the next session of the National Assembly would be summoned,” the source said.
The source added that State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmed had not yet completed his homework and despite the nominations made by almost all political parties, reservations had been expressed by not only the coalition partners but also by some opposition parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The National Assembly has been summoned to meet on September 16 and the election of all members and chairpersons will be finalised during the session. The source added that JUIU-F chief Fazlur Rehman wanted his share and he has demanded chairmanship of the standing committee on foreign affairs and is likely to win it.
Another source in the PML-N said his party wanted to allocate chairpersonship of four major committees, including standing committee on foreign affairs to its own members.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairpersonship is likely to be given to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The PPP leadership has nominated Dr Azra Pechuho for the post. The source said that a formula had also been devised for the allocation of chairpersonship of the standing committees of the NA among various parliamentary parties.
“As per the formula, the ruling party is likely to get a lion’s share and 70 percent of the members and chairpersons of committees would go to its nominees. Out of the total 28 committees, the ruling party may win chairpersonship of 19 committees. Moreover, the chairpersons of other four important committees would also be named by the ruling party including standing committees on rules of business and privileges committee; government assurances; house and library and special committee of the parliament on Kashmir,” the source added.
He added that being the second largest party in the National Assembly, the PPP may get hold of chairmanship of five standing committees.
“The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) being a third largest party may be able to win chairpersonship of four NA standing committees. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement may win chairmanship of two standing committees while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) may get one,” the source added.
When contacted, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Aftab Shaikh said the committee members had been shortlisted and it has also been notified.
When told him that without election of chairpersons, the bodies are incomplete while the committee members are yet to be formed after by-election, Aftab said more members would be notified and the chairpersons would be elected in the upcoming session.