ISLAMABAD  -  The matter regarding Prime Minister’s specific Question–Hour in the National Assembly hangs in the balance, as it can only be resolved after the formation of parliamentary committees.

Whereas both the opposition and the government even after passing three months could not reach a consensus to form standing committees of the lower house to smoothly run the legislative process.

The matters, according to the rules and procedures, forwarded from the house, are referred to the concerned standing committees of the ministries for making a draft on it after a thorough discussion among the parliamentary political parties.

The government side had moved the legislation on September 25 with an aim that Prime Minister Imran Khan would give answers to members’ every fortnight.

The government side was interested to make amendments in the rules and procedures of the National Assembly.

Through amendment in sub-rule (4) of rule 293 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, the government side was interested to introduce a special Prime Minister Question Hour on the first Wednesday once in each session.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan had moved the amendment during the National Assembly session.

“Subject to availability of the prime minister, there shall be Prime Minister’s Question-Hour on the first Wednesday once in each session for answering questions on the matters relating to overall substantive policy or the performance of the government,” says the proposed legislation moved by the minister.

Whereas, the opposition had asked the government to refer the matter to the concerned standing committee for proper vetting on it.

The formation of standing committees due to the standoff between government and opposition over the matter of PAC chairmanship are pending for the last three months. The opposition had not given names of its party members for representation of the parliamentary committees.

Political pundits said that the matter about formation of the committee might further delay, as prime minister was not willing to give Shehbaz Sharif the slot of opposition leader in the National Assembly.

The PM Question-Hour, PTI’s lawmakers claimed was being adopted on the wish of Prime Minister Imran Khan.  According to the rules, the first hour of every sitting is dedicated to answering parliamentarians’ questions submitted earlier except the private members day. The NA speaker however can suspend the Question-Hour in case of some urgent matter.

As per 2012 amended rules of the upper house, one hour has been allocated for the prime minister to reply the questions of the senators.

 

JAVAID-UR-RAHMAN