All state institutions should mend their ways, says Rabbani

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ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani said Friday that under the current circumstances, it was necessary that all state institutions mended their ways, while also calling for mainstreaming the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) at the earliest so that its people can have access to basic human rights as citizens of the country.

During a debate in the upper house of the parliament on the jurisdictions of institutions, Rabbani said that it was futile to discuss the issue and now the Senate had to lead the way in this connection. “It is up to the parliament to show the way to others,” he remarked.

“Senators have already set an example by allowing themselves to be held accountable before the law,” he said, adding that, “There is no time to debate the jurisdictions of state institutions. They will have to start moving in the right direction themselves.”

Participating in the debate, Senator Azam Moosakhel said there should be one institution for the accountability of others. “The country has spent more time under dictatorship and that is why the parliament is weak,” he noted.

He also said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) needed to work within its limits and civilians did not need a certificate of patriotism from Rawalpindi.

Senator Nisar Mohammad Khan said that the supremacy of the parliament could only be achieved if the executive had an upper hand in the decision-making process. “It is a sign of weakness to remain quiet on something that is wrong,” he added.

Senator Muzaffar Hussain pointed out that the jurisdictions of the state institutions were set by the parliament. However, he added, the parliament had been unable to amend Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

“The judiciary cannot be held responsible for the parliament not exercising its authority to amend the Constitution,” he maintained. “The lawmakers have to exercise their authority because the parliament is the mother of all institutions,” he added.

Meanwhile, talking to a delegation of students from FATA, NA Speaker Raza Rabbani said that the people of the tribal areas must have access to the Supreme Court and high courts, as well as given the freedom to exercise their rights promised under the constitution. Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi and renowned TV anchor Saleem Safi were also present during the meeting.

The Senate Chairman told the delegation of FATA students that the Upper House of the Parliament had constituted a committee to discuss and recommend the measures regarding legislative and administrative issues of FATA, which had previously held various meetings and deliberated with stakeholders in this regard.

The committee had also reviewed the recommendations of the FATA Reform Committee constituted by the government. He expressed the hope that all the political parties would soon reach a consensus for resolving the longstanding issues confronting parliamentarians from FATA.

Rabbani assured the delegation that they would be invited in the committee meeting so that they could present their point of views and share their concerns on issues confronted by the people of FATA. He appreciated the vision of students from FATA for showing political maturity in evolving a consensus on common issues.

The chairman informed the delegation that a committee was also constituted on revival of student unions. The committee had passed a resolution urging the government to restore the student unions which served as a nursery for political leadership in the country, he added.