Event Title: The meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs was held for third consecutive day under the Chairmanship of Senator Taj Haider
Event Date: 2021-09-08
The meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs was held for third consecutive day under the Chairmanship of Senator Taj Haider here at Parliament House Today.
At outset of the meeting Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar criticized Chairman Senate’s decision to induct Senator Samina Mumtaz at the last moment before voting allegedly disturbing composition of committee which can never be justified. Replying to which Senator Azam Khan Swati said “This committee is extension of the House and Chairman Senate can change composition of committees. This has been the practice from at least last 18 years. Senator Azam Khan Swati read out the motion presented in the house at the time of constitution of Senate Committees. Senator Azam Khan Swati maintained that it is clearly mentioned in the motion that Chairman Senate is authorized by the House to make changes to composition of committees as and when he deems fit.
Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar clarified that when the motion was presented in the house for constitution of committees he opposed this motion as member of Senate. Senator remarked that these discretionary powers accorded to Chairman Senate are against constitution and rules cannot be framed by going against the spirit of constitution.” Any discretionary power without any check or when there is no forum of appeal for remedy against its unfair usage is unconstitutional”
Chairman Committee contemplated “Aren’t we setting a wrong precedent if we accept this then the Chairman Senate can change composition of every committee at any given time?” To which Senator Azam Khan Swati replied that if someone wants to change the rules they have to go back to the house and bring in another motion with majority vote.
Adviser to the PM for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan remarked that rule 264 empower the Chairman Senate through residual powers to use them as he deems fit. Motion to accord these powers was carried in the House.
Minister for Law and Justice Senator Farogh Naseem Said that this Committee does not have the jurisdiction to question the Motion passed by the House.
Chairman Committee Senator Taj Haider reiterated that “I will not embarrass the lady Senator from Baluchistan and we do not have anything personal against anyone. A technical issue has come up and we are trying to solve it”
Replying to Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan’s assertion Senator Farooq H Naek said that this Motion does not come under the ambit of rule 264. “ A senator cannot be a member of more than five committees at any given time and election of senator to any committee cannot take place two months after the initial constitution of the committee. Only swapping or substitution can be done with mutual consent” maintained Senator Farooq H Naek.
Minister for Law and Justice Senator Farogh Naseem replied that a Senator cannot be a member of more than five committees at any given day when it is accessed. As in the case of Senator Samina Mumtaz, she is member of only five committees on the day voting takes place.
Senator Farooq H Naek imputed that there is Mala fide intent on part of government. “We are answerable to the people of the country. This act by government to change the composition of the committee is morally and ethically wrong” maintained Senator Farooq H Naek.
Senator Babar Awan said that there is no rule regarding swapping or substitution of Senators between different committees and when there is no rule then Chairman Senate has the authority.
Chairman Committee informed the members that he has written to Chairman Senate on the matter in his personal capacity. “We have also held in Camera meeting to resolve the issue amicably” Said Chairman Committee.
Senator Samina Mumtaz lamented that “I have been part of proceedings of the committee for last two days and why has the committee decided to discuss legality of my membership today after two days. “ I am from Baluchistan Awami Party and as representative of my party I would like to be part of legislation on this important issue. How can BAP be left out of discussion on such important issue”.
Senator Walid Iqbal said that “This is not the forum to challenge the decision of Chairman Senate and Chairman committee does not have the power to give any ruling on the matter as issue has been already addressed by the higher authority”
Advisor to PM for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan assured the committee members that government will not select any particular machine and it is prerogative of Election Commission of Pakistan to decide on the type machine to use for conducting future elections. Government does not have any favorite machine.
Chairman Committee Senator Taj Haider reiterated his resolve to solve the issue through reconciliation and decided to defer the proceedings of the Committee till Friday, 10:30 AM.
Meeting was attended by Senators Azam Khan Swati, Syed Ali Zafar, Walid Iqbal, Sania Nishtar, Farooq H Naek, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Prof Sajid Mir, Azam Nazeer Tarar, Abida Muhammad Azeem, Kamran Murtaza, Hilal ur Rehman, Samina Mumtaz Zehri, Afnan ullah Khan, Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz, Advisor to PM on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan.