Senate issues performance report of ongoing 14th Parliamentary Year
ISLAMABAD: The House of Federation on Wednesday issued its performance report during the ongoing 14th parliamentary year which encompasses various parliamentary interventions used by members of the House for executive oversight, highlighting important issues and lawmaking as well.
Parliamentary Year of the Senate starts from March 12 of each year and ends on March 11 of the next year. During the calendar year 2016, it has been told that the House of Federation passed 54 Bills including 13 Private Members’ Bills and 41 Government Bills during its ongoing 14th Parliamentary Year.
According to the statement issued by the Senate Secretariat, it has been told that forty-three (43) Private Members’ Bills were introduced in the Senate. Out of these bills, thirty-five (35) Bills were referred to the relevant Standing Committees whereas eight (08) Bills were not referred to any of the Standing Committee as those were drafted by the Committee of the Whole and were passed by the Senate.
Out of the remaining Private Members’ Bills, the Senate passed only five Bills while the remaining Bills are still pending. The Senate also passed the Bill titled `the Panama Papers Inquires Bill, 2016’ without report of the Standing Committee as the Standing Committee concerned could not present its report within the stipulated time period.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed forty-one (41) Bills out of which thirty-six (36) Bills were received from the National Assembly. One Bill titled the Constitution (Twenty-second Amendment) Bill, 2016, was passed by the Senate without referring to the relevant Standing Committee and the remaining thirty-five (35) Bills were referred to the relevant Standing Committees. After detailed discussion and deliberations at the Committee stage, these Bills were passed by the Senate.
One (01) Bill titled the Futures Market Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Standing Committee was also passed by the Senate. Four (04) Ordinances which were first laid in the Senate and treated as Bills were also passed by the Senate.
Senate in the ongoing 14th Parliamentary year received 2695 starred questions out of which 2344 were admitted, 101 were disallowed and 250 lapsed. A total of 1305 starred questions were replied, 15 were referred to standing committees and 1013 lapsed. In all, 76 un-starred questions were admitted out of 78 and 44 of the admitted questions received replies.
Ten out of 14 motions received under rule 60 were admitted in the House. Five were discussed in the sittings of House and five were lapsed. Out of 455 motions received under rule 218, 374 were admitted in the House and discussion was held on 49 motions, four were referred to standing committees, 19 were dropped and 300 motions lapsed.
A total of 372 resolutions were received this year from different members of the Senate out of which 303 were admitted. Seventy (70) resolutions were passed by the House, two were rejected, three were withdrawn, two were referred to standing committees, 22 were dropped due to absence of members and 203 resolutions were admitted but lapsed.
A total of 17 privilege motions were received in Senate this year. Seven of these motions were referred to privilege committee, nine are under process and one was withdrawn by the mover.
In all, 264 adjournment motions were received this year. Among others, 40 were declared out of order, 28 were discussed in the House, 12 were referred to standing committees, 12 were withdrawn and 45 were dropped.
Senate received 470 calling attention notices this year as 92 were discussed in House and were responded to by the ministers concerned, 98 were disallowed, 10 were referred to standing committees and 153 were admitted but lapsed.
Total number of committee meetings held this year by end November is 463. Different standing, functional and special committees of Senate examined 40 items of legislative and 62 items of non-legislative business. 26 bills examined by committees were reported back to the House and 50 matters including standing orders, petitions and questions were referred back to House after consideration and discussion.
A number of new committees were formed this year to address issues which do not come under direct jurisdiction of the already present committees. Committee on Delegated Legislation, Committee on Marginalized segments of Society and a special Committee to explore the possibility and prepare the case of Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi for award of Nobel Prize were formed to scrutinize and report to the Senate of Pakistan on matters pertaining to rules, regulations, by-laws or other statutory instruments conferred by the Constitution or delegated by the Parliament, to liaise with organizations already working for marginalized segments of society. It will review the existing laws pertaining to the rights of marginalized segments of society and propose legislative reforms and to consider and prepare Edhi’s case for the Nobel Prize respectively.
Committee of the whole, an initiative of Senate last year, gave many crucial outputs this year. The eights bills drafted by the Committee of the whole on speedy and inexpensive justice were passed by the House this year. The committee to consider mode of elections of members of Senate also presented its first report in May this year which called for adhering to the present system but also asked for making it more transparent. The committee of the whole also discussed this year the legislative, administrative and other measures required for mainstreaming FATA and on the need for revival of student unions in the country separately. The Senate of Pakistan has also constituted this year committees on devolution, delegated legislation and ethics.
On September 26, 2016, the House constituted a committee of the whole to prepare policy guidelines in light of emerging regional realities and role of United States. The Committee of the Whole held an in-camera meeting on 29th September, 2016, to seek briefing from the Government on the situation between India and Pakistan. After detailed and extensive deliberations, the Chairman Senate constituted a Drafting Committee, comprising of following Senators, to prepare draft policy guidelines and bring the same before the Committee of Whole. A set of 22 policy guidelines was prepared by the drafting committee and approved by the committee of the whole. The guidelines included constituting a task force for formulating a doable and sustainable India/Kashmir policy, a Media Coordination Committee including selected journalists plus representatives of the Foreign Office, Ministry of Information, parliament and intelligence to prepare fact sheets and a counter-propaganda campaign against India, periodical/ regular special briefings for the foreign media, re-establishing a Public Diplomacy Office in the Foreign Office, supporting all initiatives taken for peace and stability in the region, a non-episodic role / engagement of OIC in the Kashmir issue, a firm stance on the Indus Water Treaty , having a full-time foreign minister among others.