To cope with the overwhelming needs of the contemporary parliamentary procedures, the Senate Secretariat organized a workshop for members of the senate focusing on some key aspects of parliamentary business, rules and other important areas. The workshop was organized in collaboration with United Nations Development Program(UNDP).
The inaugural day of the workshop gave the members insight from one of the most experienced Senators, Senator Col. (R) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi on Parliamentary customs, conventions and privileges and from Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez Malik about the role and evolution of the Senate of Pakistan.
Addressing the inaugural session of the two-day workshop which began on Tuesday at the Parliament House, Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez Malik observed that Parliaments are pillars of democratic governance, and as such, a pivot in increasing state capability, accountability and responsiveness.
Highlighting the aims and objectives of the workshop, Amjed Pervez Malik said that the initiative is aimed at augmenting Members’ understanding of their constitutional role and powers, as well as working of the Parliament to enable them to contribute to make a difference. He termed it a unique opportunity, especially for newly-elected members, to learn first-hand, the functions of Parliament, particularly Senate, and also Members’ roles in processing legislation, conducting oversight, and their responsibilities as representatives of the people and provinces in the Upper House.
Secretary Senate highlighted the significance of the workshop and said that present day parliamentarians need to keep themselves abreast of the provisions of rules, Conventions and Practices to contribute more effectively and efficiently to parliamentary proceedings and functions, from plenary debates to legislations, and from committees work and oversight to public outreach by engaging civil society, media and public at large. He said that legislation enacted by the parliamentarians defines shapes and drives every action of the Executive within set legal parameters.
He called upon the Members, therefore, to lay a special focus on the essence of the legislation. “A dedicated service exists in the Senate Secretariat in the form of Legislative Drafting Unit for you in matters related to drafting” Secretary Senate informed.
He said that Senate keeps the federation intact by not only giving equal representation, but also a voice to the federating units in matters of both national and international importance. He said that capacity building and training is one of our high-priority strategic objectives.
He hoped that the collective, diverse, professional insight offered by our resource persons will expose participants to a rich learning environment and contribute towards institutional efficiency.
During the briefings and the interactive sessions that followed the members and Secretariat had a considered opinion that the primary role of a Parliamentarian is legislation but the implementation of that legislation is an equally important part of the process. While carrying out new legislation is a tool to keep dynamic societies running, it is also important to keep reviewing the previous laws and reviewing, amending and repealing as the society progresses with the passage of time.
Members were briefed about how they can make effective use of the Legislative Drafting Unit to come up with good legislation and have proper homework on their work. Senator Tahir Mashhadi observed that Senate throughout the World is the House of second thought on the legislation of the Lower House. He said that as members of the House of the Federation, the members have to be the voice of the voiceless and ensure that provinces’ rights are protected. He also remarked that the privileges of members are always because of the sanctity of the House and similarly the disrespect caused to any member is undermining the dignity of the House.
The members made a number of observations regarding their expectations from the Secretariat in drafting their business for the House and their performance in the Committees. The Secretariat ensured of their all-out support to the members in carrying out their responsibilities as legislators. The workshop will continue on Wednesday with sessions about Committees, media management, legislative drafting unit.