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Sound conventions needed

32 4 0
29.11.2018

THE government has done well to push for a consensus with the opposition parties to resolve the stalemate over the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The urgency of breaking the deadlock is evident. The PTI leadership has repeatedly declared that it is not prepared to follow the practice of reserving the chairmanship of the PAC for the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. This has resulted in delays in constituting the National Assembly’s standing committees due to the opposition’s insistence on first settling the PAC matter.

The present effort to resolve the issue was disclosed by the federal information minister some days ago when he said that the government had requested the National Assembly speaker, Asad Qaiser, and Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak (the latter is emerging as the government’s main troubleshooter), to persuade the opposition parties to arrive at a compromise.

While disclosing this welcome initiative the information minister also expressed his opinion that the speaker should go ahead with the formation of standing committees without the representation of opposition members. It would have been better if he had kept this opinion to himself because a threat to bypass the opposition detracted from the conciliatory gesture. In addition, the valuable principles underlying the system of standing committees were apparently ignored.

The first and the most widely recognised function of standing committees still is to process legislative proposals, examine their merits and demerits, and suggest........

© Dawn