PR No. 220 Islamabad: September 27, 2016

The Parliamentary Leaders of the political parties would be approached to replace the Ministers as a member of the Standing Committees with the other law makers to ensure presence of the Committee members for their effective functioning.

Chairman Senate, Mian Raza Rabbani said this while presiding the meeting of the Council of Chairmen at Parliament House here today.  The meeting discussed various issues confronting the smooth functioning of the Standing Committees.  Chairmen of different Standing Committee pointed out the issue of the absence of the committee members in the meeting is a serious concern which is hampering the legislative business and the over sight function of the Committees. Chairman said that the Senate Secretariat is also in the process to streamline the leave procedure of the members of the House and Committees. He said that better coordination among different Committees in holding up their meetings should be made so as to avoid the over lapping of the meetings resulting in inconvenience of the members, who are at a time members of the different Committees.  The Chairmen of the Committees would be further facilitated with appropriate staff and other facilities. In response to an observation by the Senataor Shahi Syed, Chairman Senate directed the Secretariat to organize capacity building session where the senior parliamentarian will deliver lectures on the functioning of the Committees and relevance of questions and other business.

The meeting also decided that to ensure productive and effective legislation by the Committees, the Committee Chairmen or his nominee would present the details of the proceedings of the Committees on the issues taken up in its meetings.  Chairman on a question of the delay in implementation on recommendations of the Committees observed that either the Committee Chairmen should take up the matter directly with the department concerned or write to the Senate Secretariat to expedite the process.  Speaking on the occasion, Leader of the Opposition Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said some appreciatable serious business has been taken by the Senate of Pakistan and its severity and supremacy enhance.  However, some time the bureaucracy does not take the function of the Standing Committees seriously. He said that despite the fact that jurisdiction and role of the Senate has increased under the leadership of present Chairman.  However, this has been done owing to his personal interest.  He said that we need to institutionalize the system and the decisions of the Chairmen of the Committees should be publicized.  The Leader of the House Raja Muhammad Zafar ul Haq observed that some Committees have not held enough number of meetings due to which many important sectors are not being given due attention.  He also informed that he would take up the matter with the Government that the Ministries and the Divisions of which the Prime Minister of Pakistan is In-charge, Ministers may be nominated to participate in the Standing Committees on these Ministries.  Chairman Senate responding to an observation by Senator Mohsin Aziz said that as per rules a junior officer should not be allowed to represent the department/ministries in the Standing Committees meetings.  He said that the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) has been strengthen and is being consulted on all important issues and the agenda items are being deliberated in the BAC at length to improve the working of the Upper House.