ISLAMABAD: Standing Committee of National Assembly on Parliamentary Affairs on Friday lamented lack of consensus over the appointment of new members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and urged the government and the opposition to work for an amendment in the constitution through a joint session of parliament.
Chaired by Senator Sassui Palijo, the meeting was attended by Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem, Senator Brig (r) John Kenneth Williams, Senator Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Senator Muhammad Yousuf Badini, Senator Farooq Hamid Naek, Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Senator Gian Chand, Senator Walid Iqbal, Senator Abdul Qayyum, Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi and senior officers from the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs attended the meeting.
The committee members observed that since the matter was sub-judice, so after the decision of the Islamabad High Court, the only way forward was to bring an amendment in the constitution to resolve the conflict.
The members were of the view that in present circumstances, most of the members of the committee regarded it as violation of the constitution and appreciated the chief election commissioner for showing a bold stance against the government’s appointment of new members.
The Election Commission secretary endorsed the CEC’s action of not administering an oath to the unilaterally-appointed members.
The Committee was briefed by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs on the report regarding low percentage of cases received from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Prime Minister’s Public Affairs and Grievances Wing.
It was informed that the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs visited eight districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Quetta.
During the visits, the minister held meetings with officers of provincial as well as federal Organisations.
This process sensitized officers on the importance of redressal of public grievances.
The Committee was of the opinion that visiting Quetta, Balochistan was not enough and directed the Wing to visit multiple areas to ensure that public grievances are redressed.
Discussing promulgation of Ordinances by the President of Pakistan in terms of Article-89 of the Constitution of Pakistan the Committee took serious notice this practice and stressed the need to curb it.
Committee Chairperson Senator Sassui Palijo said that such practice is detrimental to the spirit of democracy and as a matter of policy it must be determined that parliament is regarded supreme.
The Committee stressed that Article 89 can only be invoked in the case of an emergency situation in which parliament ceases to operate; at any other time, this is a violation of the constitution.
The Foreign Private Investment (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Board of Investment (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was on the recommendation of members, was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue.