Senate can get effective role through self-examination: Rabbani

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 10 (APP): Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on
Thursday said that the Senate could get its effective parliamentary
role as per Constitution by reviewing its own functioning in the
past to pinpoint weaknesses and then suggest a way forward through addressing the
same.
Taking up the agenda item pertaining to ‘the political situation
post Panama Papers verdict and the way forward-role of the parliament’
for discussion, Raza Rabbani said before chalking out its role, the parliament should have
self-examination.
He said political parties were taking the parliament seriously
as decisions on important national issues were being taken outside it,
either at all parties conferences (APCs) or through consultative
meetings, hence undermining its (parliament’s) role.
The Senate chairman said courts were approached to settle
political issues.
He said parties in power had not given importance to parliamentary
decisions. Major policy decisions pertaining to and dealing with
foreign policy, internal security, international treaties, and other
significant matters had never been brought before the parliament, he
added.
Rabbani said major loans or special financial agreements were not
shared with the parliamentarians and the process of parliamentary
oversight being done through parliamentary committees was being flouted
their recommendations, adopted by the House, were not adhered to.
He said the ministers’ presence in the House had always remained
a sour point which had affected the working of the parliament. Replies
to questions were not provided in time and in fact ministers concerned
gave precedence to all other engagements and commitments while
parliamentary business, both in the House and committees, should take precedence, he
observed.
Rabbani observed that major policy statements by the prime minister,
which should have been made on the floor of the House, were either made through
press conferences or address to the nation or in public
gatherings.
He said rulings of Chair were not adhered to and presiding officers
had to literally beg for their implementation in order to save them from embarrassment
due to defiance of their authority being custodian of the House.
He said the parliament itself, at times, had remained complacent and
acceded to the executive’s diktats and judicial infringements. Parliamentary outreach, he
added, had remained a neglected area and
efforts had been made by the parliament to connect with the people in
an effective manner.
The forum of Joint Sitting of Parliament, he said, had been demeaned
by not giving it importance and parliamentary committees, as provided in the Parliament
(Joint Sittings) Rules, 1973, had not been constituted.