Business of the House

  • PTI style

One of the many promises Imran Khan made right through his 22-year struggle was, upon winning the election, making the House run more on the lines of western democracies. Sure, harsh words are exchanged in parliaments across the democratic world, but they also get on with the business of running the country once the back-and-forth is over. And, in the spirit of representative government, Imran vowed to present himself to the opposition for question hour at least once every two weeks. Alas the last time Imran Khan repeated this promise was upon becoming prime minister. And that, from the looks of things, was the end of it.

Khan rightly came down hard on previous administrations for making a joke out of parliament. Any time the prime minister would grace the House would become ‘breaking news’ across prime time television. It’s a different matter, of course, if Imran and the rest of the opposition followed suit as if it was a rule. They’d always have justifications; like what will the opposition do when government ministers are not present, etc? Fair enough. But don’t we see the same situation playing out even after PTI forming government?

Parliamentary sessions are routinely marked by harsh, often ugly exchanges. And there’s always the government calling the opposition ‘bunch of thieves’, etc, to the point that now everybody has started responding in kind. Then there’s the all too familiar sight of senior minister just not present to answer important questions. There also seem to be more walkouts now than before. And there’s still no sign of the question hour that the prime minister promised. How, then, is Imran Khan’s policy, as well as philosophy, different from his predecessors? PTI should understand better than most parties that once parliament is compromised democracy just cannot function. This was, after all, one of the main points of their campaign. It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that they are unable to implement one of their main policies.