There is urgent need to implement rules of procedure and conduct of business in Sindh Assembly and establish such a mechanism that could increase citizens’ interests in their representatives’ activities.
Addressing the session on citizens action for democratic governance in Pakistan, consultative session on model rules of business of Sindh Assembly with Legislatives Governance Support Group (LGSG), Free & Fair Election Network (FAFEN) Communication Manager Syed Abdul Ahad said that the full participation of all elected representatives in provincial assembly for making legislation or holding debate on public issues could increase the public interest and benefit them at a large level.
The session was organised by Free & Fair Election Network (FAFEN) and Pakistan Press Foundation at a local hotel. It was attended by legislators including PML-F’s Ms Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, MQM’s Ms Heer Soho and Syed Khalid Hussain, PML-N’s Ms Sorath Thebo, PPP’s Dr Sikandar Ali Shoro, Fayaz Ali Butt and Dr Sohrab and PML-F’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi. FAFEN official Abdul Razaq and PPF’s representative Farooq Moin were also present on the occasion.
The session was presided over by Pakistan Press Foundation Chairman Owais Aslam Ali in which the draft rules of procedure and conduct of business for Sindh Assembly was presented before the lawmakers and their recommendations were sought on proper implementation of these rules in the Sindh Assembly.
“Proper implementation of procedures and conduct of business in assembly are important for strengthening democracy which is in larger benefit of public and democratic government,” said Ahad. He said the Sindh Secretariat should establish a mechanism and create feedback box on its official website for ensuring citizens’ interest and allowing them to give their feedback on activities of their representatives, particularly when they present any resolutions in the assembly.
He recommended that the elected member’s performance should be displayed openly on official website of Sindh Secretariat for the interest of public so that they could decide who have voted for and what they are doing. He said the citizens feedback was must to ensure better democracy. He said the assembly session should not be initiated in the absence of any member while the speaker of the House should give equal time to every member so that the issues pertaining to public could be resolved on priority basis.
“It has been observed that 50 per cent of legislators do not participate in Sindh Assembly sessions and only some MPAs have privileged to speak on the public issues for hours, which is against the democratic rules and regulations,” he added. He said that assembly’s session was usually delayed for hours due to different reasons but it should not be delayed so that the maximum time could be consumed in debate for resolving important public issues. In every last hours of the assembly session, ministers should be available for answering the questions asked by other members of the House on their performances and identifying public issues that need to be resolved.
Ahad said that lack of use of modern technology also created gap between the speaker and other members of assembly as well as between public and their representatives. He recommended that all provincial assembly members should use different communication tools to remain in touch with public.
Mehtab Rashdi said most of the public representatives ignore them in jocks when they discuss serious issues in the Assembly. She said the non-serious attitude of members should be brought to an end in the provincial assembly. “There is dire need to implement assembly rules,” Rashdi said. She further suggested that there should be consistency in lawmaking. At the end of the session, lawmakers also took full participation in the discussion and gave their valuable recommendations on implementation of rules of procedure and conduct of business for Sindh Assembly.