ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Wednesday urged that both houses of the Parliament must work towards protecting the rights of citizens, upholding the Constitution, and ensuring that all parliamentary proceedings are conducted in accordance with the law.
Addressing the special commemorative session summoned to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Senate of Pakistan, the Speaker said, “We have the power to bring about change. Let us use this power wisely and with a sense of responsibility.”
He said, as today marks a significant milestone in our country’s history, we gather here to reflect on 50 years of the Senate’s contribution to strengthening democracy and ensuring national cohesion. This is, he said, a momentous occasion that presented us with a unique opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our parliamentary system and to devise a framework that will further enhance its effectiveness. He said it was that fortunate moment when the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan came out with a second House named Senate.
Provincial autonomy was the long-demanded right of provinces brought about by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution that gave a new and dynamic role to the Senate, he added.
The speaker said, the aspirations of the drafters were met vide the 18th Constitution Act, 2010, wherein, the Prime Minister along with his cabinet was made responsible to the Senate; Report of Auditor General of Pakistan relating to the Accounts of the Federation to be laid before the Senate; Number of seats was increased; and NFC was made answerable to the Parliament.
He said that the inclusion of senators in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was also a historic development that has not been achieved in a smooth manner rather systematic and consistent endeavors have remained a steering factor in the formation of the Joint Committee on Public Accounts that would further strengthen the democratic system in the country.
“As you all are aware that federalism is a setup most suited to countries with diversity” he added. Being the House of the Federation, the Senate of Pakistan was formed with the principle of ‘Chamber of continuity’ which symbolizes a process of continuity in national affairs, he added.
Throughout its existence, the Senate has served as a critical check on the power of the executive and has been instrumental in shaping legislative policies that have had a profound impact on the lives of our citizens. “Today, as we reflect on the past 50 years, we take pride in the Senate’s accomplishments in promoting democracy, transparency, and accountability,” he added. He stressed further strengthening of the Senate to ensure ethnic and provincial equilibrium in the country.
He paid tribute to all those who have served in the Senate of Pakistan over the past half a century, and to those who continued to serve in this august house.
He said, “Your dedication, commitment, and service to the people of Pakistan are greatly appreciated.”
He also highlighted the contributions of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and said, “I would like to take this opportunity to honour the contributions of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in this regard. Under his able leadership, the Constitution of 1973 was drafted and adopted, which remains the supreme law of the land to this day.
The Constitution enshrines the principles of democracy, federalism, and the rule of law, and provides for the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Respect and mutual consultation are the true spirits of the Constitution of Pakistan. Therefore, being ‘Custodian of the House’ a huge responsibility lies on the shoulders of Speaker National Assembly and Chairman Senate. “Both Houses of the Parliament must work in harmony” he added. The collaboration between the secretariats of the two houses of parliament is crucial for the effective functioning of our parliamentary system.
“By working together, the secretariats can help to ensure that parliamentary proceedings are conducted smoothly and efficiently, while promoting greater transparency and accountability in our democratic system” he added. (APP)