SENATE ORGANIZES WORKSHOP ON PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES, LEGISLATIVE PROCESSES
To cope with the overwhelming needs of the contemporary parliamentary procedures, the Senate Secretariat organized a workshop for members of the senate focusing on some key aspects of parliamentary business, rules and other important areas. The workshop was organized in collaboration with United Nations Development Program(UNDP).
The inaugural day of the workshop gave the members insight from one of the most experienced Senators, Senator Col. (R) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi on Parliamentary customs, conventions and privileges and from Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez Malik about the role and evolution of the Senate of Pakistan.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day workshop which began on Tuesday at the Parliament House, Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez Malik observed that Parliaments are pillars of democratic governance, and as such, a pivot in increasing state capability, accountability and responsiveness.
Highlighting the aims and objectives of the workshop, Amjed Pervez Malik said that the initiative is aimed at augmenting Members’ understanding of their constitutional role and powers, as well as working of the Parliament to enable them to contribute to make a difference. He termed it a unique opportunity, especially for newly-elected members, to learn first-hand, the functions of Parliament, particularly Senate, and also Members’ roles in processing legislation, conducting oversight, and their responsibilities as representatives of the people and provinces in the Upper House.
Secretary Senate highlighted the significance of the workshop and said that present day parliamentarians need to keep themselves abreast of the provisions of rules, Conventions and Practices to contribute more effectively and efficiently to parliamentary proceedings and functions, from plenary debates to legislations, and from committees work and oversight to public outreach by engaging civil society, media and public at large. He said that legislation enacted by the parliamentarians defines shapes and drives every action of the Executive within set legal parameters.
He called upon the Members, therefore, to lay a special focus on the essence of the legislation. “A dedicated service exists in the Senate Secretariat in the form of Legislative Drafting Unit for you in matters related to drafting” Secretary Senate informed.
He said that Senate keeps the federation intact by not only giving equal representation, but also a voice to the federating units in matters of both national and international importance. He said that capacity building and training is one of our high-priority strategic objectives.
He hoped that the collective, diverse, professional insight offered by our resource persons will expose participants to a rich learning environment and contribute towards institutional efficiency.
During the briefings and the interactive sessions that followed the members and Secretariat had a considered opinion that the primary role of a Parliamentarian is legislation but the implementation of that legislation is an equally important part of the process. While carrying out new legislation is a tool to keep dynamic societies running, it is also important to keep reviewing the previous laws and reviewing, amending and repealing as the society progresses with the passage of time.
Members were briefed about how they can make effective use of the Legislative Drafting Unit to come up with good legislation and have proper homework on their work. Senator Tahir Mashhadi observed that Senate throughout the World is the House of second thought on the legislation of the Lower House. He said that as members of the House of the Federation, the members have to be the voice of the voiceless and ensure that provinces’ rights are protected. He also remarked that the privileges of members are always because of the sanctity of the House and similarly the disrespect caused to any member is undermining the dignity of the House.
The members made a number of observations regarding their expectations from the Secretariat in drafting their business for the House and their performance in the Committees. The Secretariat ensured of their all-out support to the members in carrying out their responsibilities as legislators. The workshop will continue on Wednesday with sessions about Committees, media management, legislative drafting unit.
Senate to Form Special Committee to Address Mining Industries’ Hardships : SADIQ SANJRANI
Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani has said that the mining industry is playing a key role in the overall socio-economic development of the country and there is dire need to take concrete steps to give boost to this important sector and give it a proper status of an industry as thousands of people are directly or indirectly associated with the sector. He expressed these views while talking with a delegation of the representative of Coal Mines Association on Tuesday at Parliament House. Senator Kuhda Babar of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Minister for Defense Production Zubaida Jalal had earlier requested for a meeting to address the hardships of the industry.
He said that people associated with the coal business are facing hardships in making the both ends meet and a formal policy intervention is required to get the industry out of the quagmire in consultation with the with the stakeholders. Chairman Senate observed that the coal extracted from the mines in Balochistan and Sindh is mostly consumed by the local industry and especially the brick kilns. Any impact on the brick making industry would make the coal mining industry suffer. He underscored the need to regulate the tax system related to mining and therefore, relevant departments should carry out a detailed consultative session to chalk out comprehensive policy. He said that all the ministries and departments should assist the proposed committee of the Senate to suggest required legislation to address the issues being faced by the industry.
He directed the FBR to avoid burdenising the mining with unjustified taxes and NEPRA should provide detailed report on the utilization of local and imported coal. Representatives of coal mine industry informed the Chairman Senate about the closure of brick kilns in Punajb leaving thousands unemployed and coal mine business to a suffocating stage. They informed that the local industry is relaying on imported coal, however, a meager design change in the plants can make them compatible for local coal thus saving country’s precious foreign exchange and supporting the local industry. They also demanded to stop the collection of unjustified taxes as the facilities are not being extended at par throughout the country.
Minister for Defense Production Zubaida Jalal, Senators Kalsoom Perveen, Sitara Ayaz, Mirza Afridi and Kuhda Babar besides senior officers of FBR and NEPRA were also present.