LACK of quorum has become a chronic problem for the current National Assembly which is becoming a redundant institution. Friday was the fifth day in a row that the President adjourned the meeting for the same reason – a few minutes after the start of business. The question of the quorum has already marred the work of the entire first week of the fourth parliamentary year of the Assembly. It should be embarrassing for the government, but there is no such awareness in the ruling party. It is also worrying that this is happening as the Fourth Assembly nears the end of its five-year term. In its report on the completion of the third parliamentary year of the National Assembly, Pildat, an independent forum focusing on democracy and governance in Pakistan, said that the lower house “has not seen any improvement in the participation of members, including Prime Minister Imran. Khan, because 24 of the 79 meetings in total were adjourned for lack of quorum ”.
It appears that lawmakers have lost interest and confidence in the institution, possibly due to the government’s heavy reliance on ordinances rather than parliament to legislate and make key policy decisions in other fora. . While it is true that guaranteeing a quorum – for which the presence of 86 members, or a quarter of the 342 members of the House is required – is primarily the responsibility of the government, the opposition has frequently used its absence as a means of disrupt the proceedings, even during Question Time. It is time for Prime Minister Imran Khan to intervene in his capacity as House leader. If he does not have time for Parliament himself, he must at least give direction to his ministers and the chief party whip to ensure the presence of at least the number of MPs required to maintain the system. parliamentary function and prevent the alienation of Pakistanis from the democratic process which may well be the wish of some anti-democratic elements.
Posted in Dawn, le 25 September 2021