Maiden Session

The maiden session of Pakistan’s 16th National Assembly set the tone for the upcoming parliamentary politics; under the heavy shadow of political demands weighing down national interest. Political association is, in fact, the rock bottom of democracy. But it should not be all there is to par­liamentary democracy. At the end of the day, the House is con­stituted to represent the people from every nook and corner of the country. But people’s representatives care more about their political careers and party politics. This is a sorry sight in Pakistan’s infant democratic culture.

The sloganeering in the house and the few speeches that were made by the newly elected members after taking their oaths tell a lot about the priorities. Some are fixated on getting justice for their fellow party members and the allocation of reserved seats. Others feel entitled to be members of the House. Who cares about policies, people, people-friendly politics, and welfare? While the oath is a sacred trust, what followed before and after the oath in the National Assembly was a continuation of the norm and the absence of the “change” that many have given up on.

The political tensions prevailing from before the elections have found their way inside the National Assembly. Amidst the charged atmosphere of slogans and symbolic gestures, it is evident that deep-seated political dynamics continue to shape parliamentary proceedings. As the assembly proceeds to elect its speaker and deputy speaker today and Prime Min­ister on March 3rd, it seems we should tighten our belts for more shouting, more blaming, less discipline, and a sheer dis­regard for the decorum of the House.

There are urgent and pressing issues awaiting the attention of the newly-elected members of the National Assembly. There is a pressing need for all parties to prioritise national inter­ests, set aside political differences, and engage in meaningful dialogue to ensure effective governance for the betterment of the country. If the members are to stay true to their oath, they must re-consider their approach to political differences. If pet­ty politics continues to mar session proceedings, the contract between the represented and the representative will weaken.

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