ISLAMABAD - Senate Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari has proposed that political forces initiate a dialogue for direct elections of the members of the Upper House of Parliament.
Bokhari also suggested constitution of joint standing committees of the bicameral parliament to ensure expeditious and unanimous legislation.
"I will shortly write to the prime minister and the president to introduce the joint standing committees of both the houses of Parliament, National Assembly and Senate."
He said such a system had already been experienced in India and had brought fruitful results in form of speedy legislation within minimum possible time.
The chairman said sometime, the National Assembly passed a bill, but Senate standing committees introduced some amendments to it. In such a case, the bill again went to the NA for passage.
"If joint standing committees are introduced, this practice can be ridded of," Bokhari said. He said during this government, record legislation had been made in the Senate, with 20 bills passed only in the last year.
The chairman said after the 18th amendment, the working days of the Senate had been increased from 90 to 110 days, but the House had completed 116 sittings that showed the commitment of the members to strengthening democracy and the national institutions.
Bokhari said among top important legislation made by Senate included 18th amendment, NFC Award, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd constitutional amendments and was about to take up 24th amendment, commenting that the dictators had polluted the constitution in their respective regimes.
Besides, the House discussed the various important issues including the law and order, took up adjournment motions and referred some matters to the standing committees as those had also functioned effectively during the current period.
He was of the view that if the annual budget was sent to the parliamentary committees these would approve it considering all pros and cons that would also nullify the impression of a rubber stamp Parliament.
Exemplifying Burma, he said even after two decades of military rule, the country had finally gone for elections. He said ultimately, everyone would have to go for election like Pervez Musharraf.
When questioned as to why Parliament could not eliminate terrorism through effective legislation, he said besides legislation, there was a need to consider the regional circumstances as well, adding that “terrorism was not our local product that we had been facing since 1979”.
Moreover, he emphasised need for unity among political forces and all other stakeholders for the country's riddance from terrorism because the use of force could never be the sole solution.
Bokhari said the incumbent Parliament worked a lot to improve inter-parliamentary ties as the chairperson of the Russian Upper House recently visited Pakistan. He said there was a huge difference between the perception created by the media and the one created by one-on-one meetings that could be made possible only through exchange of parliamentary delegations.
To another question whether Parliament was supreme or the constitution, he said this debate would continue because in the past “we could not evolve the political system. Even in Europe, there had been a long debate whether the church or the state was supreme”, he added.