Representation of Federating units
A classic function of second chambers is to represent states, regions or provinces within the national parliament. This is now the commonest form of representation in second chambers around the world. The framers of the Constitution of Pakistan gave the Senate the important role of protecting interest of federating units. They assigned each Province the same number of seats in order to guarantee them an equal voice in the Senate.
The use of proportional voting in the Senate also means that minority groups/parties are able to gain representation.
Functional Committee on Devolution
With a mandate to protect the rights of the Federating Units; the Senate ensures that devolution of subjects and powers takes place within constitutional parameters; thus strengthening the bond between provinces. A Functional Committee on Devolution has been made a permanent feature of the Upper house by amending the Senate Rules. The functions of the Committee are as under:-
“The functions of the Committee on Devolution shall be the following or such others as may be assigned to it from time to time. The Committee shall:-
- Review, on a continuous basis, implementation of devolution scheme as envisaged in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973;
- Identify and make remedial recommendations where the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010 has been deviated from, circumvented or not implemented;
- identify and make recommendations to such aspects of the implementation plan/ process which due to administrative or lack of law or for any other reasons is facing or likely to face difficulty in its implementation; and
- on regular basis, seek the views of the Federal Government, Provincial Governments and or any division, department, autonomous or semi-autonomous body/ bodies related with or pertaining to the process of implementation of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010 to evaluate and oversee the implementation status of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010.”
FUNCTIONAL COMMITTEE ON PROBLEMS OF LESS DEVELOPED AREAS
The functions of the Committee on problems of Less-developed Areas shall be to perform the following or such other functions as may be assigned to it from time to time:
promote a balanced development in different areas of the country and to pay special attention to the problems of less-developed areas, it shall:-
- review plans and special programmes for less-developed areas as approved by the Government from time to time;
- receive representations from affected persons and areas concerning the development of those areas within the framework of budgetary provisions already made in that behalf;
- identify problems, bottlenecks and difficulties in the implementation of the programmes and policies for less-developed areas as approved and enunciated by the Government from time to time; and
- make recommendation subject to availability of resources, for resolving these problems and for the speedier development of those areas in order to achieve more balanced and equitable utilization of resources in the country for greater socio-economic justice.
FUNCTIONAL COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
The functions of the Committee on Human Rights shall be the following or such others as may be assigned to it from time to time.
The Committee shall:—
- review on a continuous basis the over-all position of human right violations in the country;
- receive representations from the affected persons, organizations and international agencies, including the Human Rights Commission, regarding human rights violations in the country;
- ascertain if any violation of human rights has taken place and also identify the problem areas; and
- undertake studies and make recommendations for redressing the human right violations including proposal for legislation in that area.