Recognized as political nerve ends, the gatherers of information, the sifters of alternatives, the refiners of legislative detail, and the eyes and ears of the Parliament, much of the business of the House is handled by the Committees. The Senate of Pakistan has an efficient Committee System which has established traditions of sovereignty of the Parliament over the years and has dealt with a wide range of issues of national importance and public interest.
Committee Membership: With a total membership of not more than fourteen members, that are elected by the Senate, the Minister or Adviser concerned shall be an ex-officio member of the Committee; provided that the Minister or Adviser shall not be entitled to vote as an ex-officio member unless, he is a member of the Senate.
A member cannot be a member of more than five Standing Committees at the same time.
Committee Rules: The Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges considers matters regarding the procedure and conduct of business in the House and disposes of the Privilege motions moved by the members of the House. As per Rule 163, all other matters including the composition and election to this Committee shall be regulated mutatis mutandis by rules relating to Standing Committee appearing hereafter; while the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs shall be its ex-officio member.
Committee at Work
As a result of the importance and complexity of its work, the Senate divides its tasks amongst committees. The chairman of each committee represents the majority party and controls committee business. Each party assigns its own members to committees, and each committee distributes its members amongst subcommittees.
There are limits on the number and types of committees served by one Senator. The main purpose of a committee is to interrogate executive organizations regarding issues of public importance. Hearings are held to gather information and views from non-committee experts.
Committees also meet to review amendments. A committee's influence extends to enactment of bills into law. Committee hearings are also held on the implementation and investigation of programs. These are known as oversight hearings.