ISLAMABAD - The seriousness and commitment of the PML-N government and its allies towards legislation could be gauged from the fact that during the first parliamentary year of 14th assembly, only one bill turned into an act of the parliament.
This is reflective of the lack of political wisdom and sagacity as the ruling party failed to evolve a consensus to bring all the political forces on one page on major issues confronted by Pakistan.
The lower house of the parliament in around 130 working days was able to pass only eleven bills in its different sittings but only one bill (The Finance Bill, 2013) could become an act of parliament after getting nod from Senate. Whereas, the fate of the remaining 10 bills is hanging in the balance ostensibly due to less strength of Pakistan Muslim League (N) in the upper house of the parliament.
According to the information gathered from National Assembly (NA) Secretariat, the incumbent government was able to pass ‘The Finance Bill, 2013’ on 27th June 2013 from National Assembly, which later sailed through Senate.
The remaining 10 bills, including The Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014, The Service Tribunals (amendment) Act, 2014, The Surveying and Mapping Act, 2014, Federal Public Service Commission (amendment) Act, 2014, The Federal Service Commission (amendment) Act, 2014 and Federal Public Service Commission (amendment) act, 2014, Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Act, 2014, National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (Amendment) Act, 2014, and Anti-terrorism (amendment) Act, 2014, were passed from the National Assembly but are stuck in Senate.
Legal and constitutional experts viewed that the government might be in a position to pass these bills from upper house of the parliament by mid-March 2015, as half of the senators (52) will retire after completion of their term and the government will be in a position for comfortable legislation after the Senate election.
The government laid before the house 13 bills in 130 days of the parliamentary year including The State bank of Pakistan (amendment) Act, 2014, The Credit Bureaus Act, 2014, The Constitution 23rd Amendment Act, 2013, Legal Practitioners and Bar Council’ and others in different periods.
Whereas, the private members laid three times more bills than the government mostly during the period of May 2013 to April 2014.
Interestingly, the passage of resolutions remained at the top as only in the first parliamentary year over 50 resolutions of different nature were passed from the National Assembly (NA).
When contacted, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, state minister for parliamentary affairs, admitted less number of acts in the first parliamentary year. “It would improve with the passage of time, as understanding level is improving fast,” Sheikh felt.
Commenting on the performance of the PML-N government, PPP senior lawmaker Nawab Yusuf Talpur said the house has become debating club, as proper legislation is still not being carried out. “Only one act of parliament in the first parliamentary year shows that the government’s performance is even worse than Musharraf’s era,” he said, adding that the prime minister has never given importance to the parliament since the start of parliamentary year.
When contacted, PTI’s Central Information Secretary Shireen Mazari said the PML-N government is only relaying on ordinances. “Performance of the government is very poor, as even they fail to develop consensus on any of the issue,” she said. “They never bother to make consensus so their performance is unsatisfactory,” Mazari added.
Waseem Akhtar, MNA of MQM, also came down hard on the government for not building consensus on plethora of issues. “Because of their ill-planning, they managed to make only one act of parliament,” he added.