The right direction
The Senate was given the name of the House of Federation unanimously in May 2015. From representing the federal units to representing the entire federation, thus moving from the parts to the whole, marks it as a qualitative jump. What is more the Senate is showing greater concern for public issues.
More Private Members’ Bills, 18 to be specific, were tabled this year. Rules were amended to allow two Calling Attention Notices instead of one to be taken up daily during the session, the idea being to respond to issues of public interest. The House has also started taking suo moto notice of matters of larger public interest.
As the numerical strength of a party in the Senate plays little role in determining the fortunes of the government, party affiliations are relatively weak and the ruling party Senators can sometime take a stand critical of the government. Last year PML-N’s veteran Senator M. Hamza joined the opposition in taking to task his own government’s decision to allot more than one plot to the judges and demanded an immediate end to the practice. The Senate is also taking up issues with long term implications. Two such issues cropped up this week.
So far the smaller provinces have been pressing the government to call the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) regularly. The government on the other hand continues to violate its constitutional obligation of convening the CCI meeting at least once in three months. On Thursday Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq, another PML-N warhorse, presented a resolution demanding holding the CCI meeting on a regular basis. The resolution further suggested that the CCI establish its permanent secretariat and ensure timely submission of its reports to Parliament. Another resolution passed unanimously was about the Census. It was demanded that the Census should be held before elections. Many question if the responsiveness to public issues of both urgent and long term importance shown by the Senate under its present chairman will last after him. It is difficult to make the prediction.
Silence with regard to increase in emoluments of members exposed Senators righteousness rather embarrassingly. Caught with pants down, to be precise. Is this our national character? I suppose political character not national.
Comments deleted – your discretion but I only appreciated the performance of the Upper House compared to the NA – and which none can deny. What the NA is asking pay rise by 500% for ?
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