ISLAMABAD - Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has said that the Parliament has an important role to play and we must take a sensible approach that is dialogue and continuation of democracy. He said the federation of Pakistan cannot afford an aberration or rolling back of the provincial autonomy that will spell disaster for the country.

He was addressing the certificates awarding ceremony of Young Parliamentary Associates (YPA) which was organized by Improving Parliamentary Performance in Pakistan (IP3), a project funded by the European Union.

He said, “We are not willing to let the young Pakistanis remember that we failed. We will now carry forward where the previous generation left adding that their great service would be to tell the people how the parliament works.”

Talking about the YPAs, he said, “You must realize that you had a unique opportunity of working at a prestigious and an apex political institution and witnessed how parliamentarians work.”

He said they take solace from the fact that Pakistani democracy is in transition, both in terms of parliamentary democracy as well as the growth of the federation from dictatorship to a democratic dispensation. He said transitions are painful and time consuming.

Certificates were distributed to 29 Young Parliamentary Associates (YPAs) who were trained through the European Union’s project to provide support to Pakistan’s Federal Parliament. Parliamentarians, ambassadors of EU member states and EU dignitaries, members of parliamentary secretariats and family members of the YPAs attended the event.

Speaking at the occasion, the Acting Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan, Stefano Gatto, lauded the efforts of YPAs and said, “The YPA programme is an important part of EU’s efforts to strengthen and support democracy and its institutions in Pakistan.”

While appreciating this initiative, Executive Director PIPS Mahmood Salim Mahmood said, “Efforts like these promote research work which will strengthen the legislative process.”

In her opening address IP3 team leader Niamh O’Connor, thanked the National Assembly, the Senate and PIPS as well as the YPA for making the YPA programme a success. She further stated that “The YPA programme has provided a very rare opportunity for many young people to work at the Parliament, the supreme legislative body of the country. The IP3 is delighted to have been able to afford this opportunity to the young people of Pakistan representing each province.”