ISLAMABAD - The government and opposition have almost reached an understanding for the distribution of chairmanships of National Assembly standing committees, which has been pending for the last couple of months.
The formal announcement for the headships of parliamentary bodies will be made by the end of this month, annoying some of the opposition parties including PTI, parliamentary sources told The Nation on Friday.
The sources said the PML-N has almost convinced PPPP for the chairmanship of the committees but PTI - the second largest opposition party - still has reservations on it.
It is relevant to note here that the PML-N government has already missed the one-month constitutional deadline for the formation of standing committees and finally it was approved in the 4th session of the National Assembly without deciding the chairmanships.
The upcoming NA session, the sources said, is likely to be called next week, may also witnesses a debate on formation and especially distribution of committees.
As, NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had in 4th session ‘justified’ the delay by using additional time for the budget session as an excuse. The extra days consumed in the budget session would not be included in the 30-day legal deadline set for notifying heads of the standing committees, he argued in the house.
While, as per parliamentary rules, “Each committee shall consist of not more than 17 members to be elected by the assembly within 30 days after the ascertainment of the leader of the house”.
When contacted, Leader of opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said that the matter will be resolved after Eid as the matter has discussed with Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed in length.
“No doubt, this government has extraordinarily delayed this importnat matter, which should have been resolved much earlier,” Shah added.
Talking to this scribe, Sheikh Aftab said that this matter will be resolved in the next week and tentative chairmanship has been decided by the government side. About the sarty-wise share of chairmanships, he said that PML-N will keep 17 ministries headship in its possession. PPP-P will be given four, PTI three, MQM two, JUI-F one, and FATA one.
To a question about reservations of PPP-P and PTI, the minister hoped that the government and opposition parties would settle this matter amicably. It would also be not out of place to mention here that both PPP-P and PTI have clearly flaunted its reservations over the distribution of the headships of NA committees.
Khursheed had earlier clearly criticised the share of his party with the argument that if JUI-F with less number of lawmakers could take headship of two committees then PPP-P should be given chairmanship of five or six committees.
The number of standing committees in the previous National Assembly was 45 whereas there were 11 special committees, nine parliamentary committees and one select committee on information technology & telecommunications on prevention of electronic crime bill 2010.
However, this time the number of committees will be less than in the previous assembly. With the PML-N government’s initiative to merge several ministries, the number of standing committees has shrunk to 28.
The NA committees play important role of oversight and keep checks on the workings of relevant government ministries. In parliamentary democracies, the committees are regarded as the eyes, ears, hands and brain of the Parliament.